Thursday, March 31, 2005

the standard....

Question:On March 18, 2005 Amina Wadud led the first female-led Jumu`ah Prayer. On that day, women took a huge step towards being more like men. But, did we come closer to actualizing our God-given liberation?

Answer: This answer was kindly provided by Sister Yasmin Mogahed, a member of Ask About Islam Editorial Staff. Yasmin is an Egyptian-American journalist based in Wisconsin, USA. She is currently studying for a Master's degree in Journalism.

Salam, Sarah.

Thank you for your inspiring question!

Well, answering your question, I can say that I don’t think so.

What we so often forget is that God has honored women by giving them value in relation to God—not in relation to men. But as Western feminism erases God from the scene, there is no standard left but men. As a result, the Western feminist is forced to find her value in relation to a man. And in so doing, she has accepted a faulty assumption. She has accepted that man is the standard, and thus a woman can never be a full human being until she becomes just like a man—the standard.

When a man cut his hair short, she wanted to cut her hair short. When a man joined the army, she wanted to join the army, and so on. She wanted these things for no other reason than because the “standard” had it.

What she didn’t recognize was that God dignifies both men and women in their distinctiveness, not their sameness. And on March 18, Muslim women made the very same mistake.

For 1,400 years, there has been a consensus of scholars that men are to lead Prayer. As a Muslim woman, why does this matter? The one who leads Prayer is not spiritually superior in any way. Something is not better just because a man does it. And leading Prayer is not better just because it is leading. Had it been the role of women or had it been more divine, why wouldn’t the Prophet have asked Lady `A’ishah or Lady Khadijah, or Lady Fatimah—the greatest women of all time—to lead? These women were promised heaven and yet they never led Prayer.

But now, for the first time in 1,400 years, we look at a man leading Prayer and we think, “That’s not fair.” We think so, although God has given no special privilege to the one who leads. The imam is no higher in the eyes of God than the one who prays behind. On the other hand, only a woman can be a mother. And the Creator has given special privilege to a mother. The Prophet taught us that heaven lies at the feet of mothers. But no matter what a man does, he can never be a mother. So why is that not unfair?

When asked who is most deserving of our kind treatment? The Prophet replied "your mother" three times before saying "your father" only once. Isn’t that sexist? No matter what a man does, he will never be able to have the status of a mother.

And yet even when God honors us with something uniquely feminine, we are too busy trying to find our worth in reference to men, to value it or even notice it. We too have accepted men as the standard; so anything uniquely feminine is, by definition, inferior. Being sensitive is an insult, becoming a mother is a degradation. In the battle between stoic rationality (considered masculine) and selfless compassion (considered feminine), rationality reigns supreme.

As soon as we accept that everything a man has and does is better, all that follows is just a knee jerk reaction: if men have it, we want it too. If men pray in the front rows, we assume this is better, so we want to pray in the front rows too. If men lead Prayer, we assume the imam is closer to God, so we want to lead Prayer too. Somewhere along the line, we’ve accepted the notion that having a position of worldly leadership is some indication of one’s position with God.

A Muslim woman does not need to degrade herself in this way. She has God as a standard. She has God to give her value; she doesn’t need a man here.

In fact, in our crusade to follow men, we, as women, never even stopped to examine the possibility that what we have is better for us. In some cases, we even gave up what was higher only to be like men.

Fifty years ago, we saw men leaving the home to work in factories. We were mothers. And yet, we saw men doing it, so we wanted to do it too. Somehow, we considered it women’s liberation to abandon the raising of another human being in order to work on a machine. We accepted that working in a factory was superior to raising the foundation of society—just because a man did it.

Then after working, we were expected to be superhuman—the perfect mother, the perfect wife, the perfect homemaker, and have the perfect career. And while there is nothing wrong, by definition, with a woman having a career, we soon came to realize what we had sacrificed by blindly mimicking men. We watched as our children became strangers, and soon recognized the privilege we’d given up.

And so only now—given the choice—women in the West are choosing to stay home to raise their children. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, only 31 percent of mothers with babies, and 18 percent of mothers with two or more children, are working fulltime. And of those working mothers, a survey conducted by Parenting Magazine in 2000, found that 93 percent of them say they would rather be home with their kids, but are compelled to work due to “financial obligations.” These “obligations” are imposed on women by the gender sameness of the modern West and removed from women by the gender distinctiveness of Islam.

It took women in the West almost a century of experimentation to realize a privilege given to Muslim women 1,400 years ago. Given my privilege as a woman, I only degrade myself by trying to be something I’m not, and in all honesty, don’t want to be—a man. As women, we will never reach true liberation until we stop trying to mimic men and value the beauty in our own God given distinctiveness.

If given a choice between stoic justice and compassion, I choose compassion. And if given a choice between worldly leadership and heaven at my feet, I choose heaven.

I hope my words answer your question. In case you have any comment or you need more about the topic, please don’t hesitate to contact us again. Thank you and please keep in touch.


-Islam Online-

If we look deeper into our life, we will see that everyday and eveytime, each one of us strive to to be the best among the best. We are taught from small that the one who are successful are the ones who scores many A's in exams, scoring the highest possible marks in the exam, then getting highest paid job later in life. Those are the successful people in this world.

We always looking for something to be emulate with or to be the 'standard' for our life mission. When we are small, some of us envied the one who scored higher mark than us. When we are small, we tend to be broken hearted when we lost one single mark that differentiate between excellence or failure. Believe it or not, this trend continues till where we are standing today. Everyone struggles harder and harder to be the best. Being in the mean-distributed group in the population is totally unacceptable. We strived to be unique. We worked hard to get the esteem of others.

Same goes to those woman who perceive that they are being discriminated when the man lead the prayer. Same goes to the woman who fought for their equality to be atbpar with man. The 'standard' must be distributed well and equal between genders. Differences is discrimination.

Yet humans are created in their own unique entity. None of us have the same attributes as to the person who sat next to us. Even identical twins have their own unique differences. Differences is a blessing for those who knows how to appreciate it.

The question is upon reaching the standard, can we claimed that our life is a successful life?

What is success and what is failure?

.....The surah moves on to state the basic truth about man, and relates this truth to the various phenomena of the universe, for man is one of the most remarkable wonders in this harmonious creation: "by the soul and its moulding and inspiration with knowledge of wickedness and plety. Successful is the one who keeps it pure, and ruined is the one who corrupts it."

These four verses in conjunction with a verse in the preceding surah, "The City": "And ( We have) shown him the two paths", and a verse in surah 76, "Man", which says: " We (Allah) have shown him the right path, be he grateful or ungrateful, " [Al-Qur'an 76:3] constitute the basis of the "Psychological Theory of Islam". They supplement the verses which point out the duality in man's make-up in surah 38, "Sad", which says: " Your Lord said to the angels, 'I am creating man from clay. When I have fashioned him, and breathed of My spirit into him, kneel down and prostrate yourselves before him. ' [Al-Qur'an 38:72-73] These verses also supplement and are related to the verses which define man's responsibility and accountability for his actions, as the one in surah 74, "The Cloaked One", which reads in translation: "Every soul is the hostage of its own deeds," [Al-Qur'an 74:38] and the verse in surah 13, "Thunder", which states that Allah's attitude to man is directly related to man's own behaviour: "Allah does not change a people 's lot until they change what is in their hearts." [Al-Qur'an 13:11] These and similar verses define the Islamic view of man with perfect clarity.

Allah has created man with a duality of nature and ability. What we mean by duality is that the two ingredients in his make-up, i.e., earth's clay and Allah' with, form within him two equal tendencies to good and evil, to follow Divine guidance and to go astray. Man is just as capable of recognising the good as he is of recognising the evil in everything he encounters, and he is equally capable of directing himself one way or the other. This dual ability is deeply ingrained within him. All external factors like Divine messages only serve to awaken his potential and help it take its chosen way. In other words, these factors do not create this potential, which is innate; they only help it develop.

In addition to his innate ability man is equipped with a conscious faculty which determines his line of action and is, therefore, responsible for his actions and decisions. He who uses this faculty to strengthen his inclinations to what is good and to purify himself and to weaken the evil drive within him will be prosperous and successful; while he who uses this faculty to suppress the good tendency in himwill ruin himself: "Successful is the one who keeps it pure and ruined is the one who corrupts it."

There must be, then, an element of responsibility attached to man's conscious faculty and freedom of choice. For if he is free to choose between his tendencies, his freedom must be coupled with responsibility. He is assigned a definite task related to the power given to him. But Allah, the Compassionate, does not leave man with no guidance other than his natural impulses or his conscious, decision-making faculty. Allah helps him by sending him messages which lay down accurate and permanent criteria, and point out to him the signs which should help him choose the right path and which exist within him and in the world around him, and clear his way of any obstructions so that he may see the truth. Thus, he recognises his way easily and clearly and his conscious decision-making faculty functions with full knowledge of the nature of the direction it chooses and the implications of that choice.

This is what Allah has willed for man and whatever takes place within this framework is a direct fulfilment of His will.

From this very general outline of the Islamic concept of man emerge a number of vital and valuable facts: firstly, that this concept elevates man to the high position of being responsible for his actions and allows him freedom of choice, (within the confines of Allah's will that granted him this freedom). Responsibility and freedom of choice, therefore, make man the honoured creature of this world, a position worthy of the creature in whom Allah has blown something of His own spirit and whom He has made with His own hand and raised above most of His creation.

Secondly, it puts man's fate in his own hands (according to Allah's will as explained earlier) and makes him responsible for it. This stimulates in him an attitude of caution as well as the positive sense of the fear of God. For he knows then that the will of Allah is fulfilled through his own actions and decisions: "Allah does not change a people's lot until they change what is in their hearts." This is in itself a great responsibility which demands that one should be always alert.

Thirdly, it reminds man of his permanent need to refer to the criteria fixed by Allah in order to ensure that his desires do not get the better of him, lead him astray and destroy him. Thus man keeps near to Allah, follows His guidance and illuminates his way by the Divine light. Indeed, the standard of purity man can achieve is limitless.

The surah then gives an example of the failure which befalls those who corrupt themselves, and erect a barrier between themselves and Divine guidance: "In their insolence the people of Thamoud denied the truth, when their most-wretched broke forth. The Messenger of Allah said to them, 'The she-camel of Allah, let her have her drink' But they cried lies to him, and hamstrung her. For that sin their Lord let loose His scourge upon them and razed their city to the ground. He fears nor what may follow." ....

-Under The Shade of Quran : Syed Qutb -

Remember that....

"Successful is the one who keeps it pure, and ruined is the one who corrupts it"
(As-Shams : 9-10)

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

the end is near?

Narrated Abu Huraira:
Allah's Apostle said, "The Hour will not be established

(1) till two big groups fight each other whereupon there will be a great number of casualties on both sides and they will be following one and the same religious doctrine,

(2) till about thirty Dajjals (liars) appear, and each one of them will claim that he is Allah's Apostle,

(3) till the religious knowledge is taken away (by the death of Religious scholars)

(4) earthquakes will increase in number

(5) time will pass quickly,

(6) afflictions will appear,

(7) Al-Harj, (i.e., killing) will increase,

(8) till wealth will be in abundance ---- so abundant that a wealthy person will worry lest nobody should accept his Zakat, and whenever he will present it to someone, that person (to whom it will be offered) will say, 'I am not in need of it,

(9) till the people compete with one another in constructing high buildings,

(10) till a man when passing by a grave of someone will say, 'Would that I were in his place

(11) and till the sun rises from the West.

So when the sun will rise and the people will see it (rising from the West) they will all believe (embrace Islam) but that will be the time when: (As Allah said,) 'No good will it do to a soul to believe then, if it believed not before, nor earned good (by deeds of righteousness) through its Faith.' (6.158) And the Hour will be established while two men spreading a garment in front of them but they will not be able to sell it, nor fold it up; and the Hour will be established when a man has milked his she-camel and has taken away the milk but he will not be able to drink it; and the Hour will be established before a man repairing a tank (for his livestock) is able to water (his animals) in it; and the Hour will be established when a person has raised a morsel (of food) to his mouth but will not be able to eat it."

Sahih Bukhari (Volume 9, Book 88, Number 237)

Yesterday, there was another big earthquake hitting the South East Asia and the Indian Ocean in general. With a sheer magnitude of 8.7 on Richter scale, that was certainly provoking dreadful fear throughout the affected nations. Even my hometown felt the vibration of the powerful earthquake.

I still remember my Geography teacher used to taught me that Malaysia is a safe place to be. It was protected from the earthquakes or volcanoes eruption. Now, the facts is changing. Malaysia is no longer safe. Each and everyone of us can be affected by the earthquake happening at neighbouring country.

When the end of times is near, earthquakes will increase in number, quoting from the above hadith. The tsunami that hit on December was 9.0 on Richter scale and the latest was 8.7. This is very close to cause another big tsunami.

Is this another reminder from the Creator on the coming of Judgement Day? Is this another warning from the Guardian of all universe on our filthy life full of disobedience towards Him?

What ever the question that struck our thought now, we should always remember that death is inevitable. Whether we were trapped from tsunami waves or not, the death will catch us eventually. Are we ready yet to meet the death call?

Life is a mirror. Reflect on the past, present and the future. Muhasabah always.

more news from NST

Monday, March 28, 2005


fractal - Patterns (real or mathematical) which look similar at different scales, for example the network of airways in the lung which shows similar branching patterns at progressively higher magnifications. Natural fractals are self-similar across a finite range of scales while mathematical fractals are the same across an infinite range. Many natural, including biological, structures are fractal (or fractal-like). Fractals are related to "chaos" (see nonlinear dynamics) in that chaotic processes can produce fractal structures in nature, and appropriate representations of chaotic processes usually reveal self-similarity over time.

I still remember what my lecturer, A/Prof Lou Irving, mentioned in the lecture about this term. Our lung consists of 300 million air outpouches (alveoli) and he asked us what is the best way to ensure all alveoli receive the same amount of air at the same time. Clearly, it is a difficult challenge to maneuver if humans were to solve those question. This question is talking about velocity, density of gas and all sorts of physics law.

And then, our lecturer mentioned that starting from the main air pipe (trachea), it divides dichotomously as such the distance in all alveoli are equal. The ratio between the first branch of airways to the next branch, is equal to the ratio of the next branch with the next next branch of airways. The ratio here is the ratio of length and the diameter of each airways branches. Altogether, there are 23 branches of airways. Thus, air can be supplied equidistance to all those 300 millions alveoli. This dichotomous ratio is called fractal.

I read another article regarding this remarkable phenomenon (click here) and indeed I was amazed at the wonder of the creation. Subhanallah, there is no God worty of worship except Allah. Allah is the Lord and the creator of all universe.

Indeed, if we were to explore the beauty in His creations, there are signs for those people of thinking. Almost 22 years of breathing free oxygen , how much have I practised islam and spread the word about the Almighty God? Deep contemplation for us all. Muhasabah always.....

Sunday, March 27, 2005

A centenary in the making

On 26th March 2005, that is yesterday, my old hometown received another suprise from the Royal Family. Being a royal town of the state, the Malay rulers of the entire Malay state decided to give another jewel to boost the already-famous image of my hometown.

The Royal Highness decided to announce my former high school as the national heritage. That will undoubtly augmented the importance of my hometown on the map of Malaysia. The royal palace of Perak, the beautiful Ubudiah Mosque, the antique Istana Kenangan, the oldest rubber tree in Malaysia, the famous Labu Sayong, the peaceful and serene Sungai Perak and now the Malay College as the national heritage.

The inauguration of MCKK as the national heritage in conjuction with its centenary celebration clearly marked its pivotal role in the history of the nation generally and specifically, my old beloved hometown. Today, most if not all the main Malaysian newspapers displayed the ceremony in their main section.

The proclamation of the Malay College Kuala Kangsar (MCKK) as a national heritage by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin was carried out in a royal manner.

The scroll bearing the proclamation was carried to the grounds of the 100-year-old college by a royal entourage on seven elephants.

Accompanied by hundreds of students and soldiers dressed in traditional warrior costumes carrying flags and spears, the elephants took about 40 minutes to reach the MCKK grounds from Istana Iskandariah in Bukit Chandan.

Engku Tan Sri Ibrahim Engku Ngah, the Keeper of the Royal Seal and also an old boy, presented the scroll to Raja Muda of Perak Raja Dr Nazrin Shah who is the chairman of the MCKK Board of Governors.

Raja Nazrin then presented the scroll to the King for the royal proclamation of the college as a national heritage, as was decided by the Council of Malay Rulers.

Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin, who read out the scroll, said the Malay Rulers had witnessed with pride the growth of the MCKK as a premier centre of learning in the last 100 years.

"Thus, it is our wish, as the Malay rulers, to further increase the prestige of this college and at the same time amplify our (the Malay Rulers') involvement in its growth."

The King then proclaimed the college as a national heritage, an honour bestowed for the MCKK's long and important contribution to the growth of Malay elitism in public administration in the last 100 years.

Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin also extended the Malay rulers' promise that their "patronage shall remain till the day the sun, moon and the stars cease to exist".

Among the dignitaries present were Sultan of Perak Sultan Azlan Shah, Sultan of Selangor Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah, the Yang di-Pertuan Besar of Negri Sembilan Tuanku Jaafar and Malacca Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Mohd Khalil Yaakob.

Others included Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Ramli Ngah Talib, Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Tajol Rosli Ghazali, Education Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz and hundreds of present and former students.

Founded in 1905, MCKK has been an exceptional educational institution for Malays of all backgrounds, producing many national leaders, corporate figures and intellectuals.

According to its records, the first eight successive Yang di-Pertuan Agongs all studied at the college.

Others who had acquired their primary and secondary education at the prestigious college include Umno founder Datuk Onn Jaafar, second Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak Hussein, former Inspector-General of Police Tun Haniff Omar and Khalil.

Among the well-known teachers who served at the college was Zainal Abidin Ahmad or better known as Za'aba.

Meanwhile, Raja Nazrin said the high standards of the college must be maintained especially after its proclamation as a national heritage.

He said the role played by the Malay rulers in the growth of the MCKK should also be supported by the students, teachers and school staff to ensure the tradition of excellence in every field was maintained at all times.

-News Strait Times-

KUALA KANGSAR 26 Mac - Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin Syed Putra Jamalullail hari ini mengisytiharkan Kolej Melayu Kuala Kangsar (MCKK) sebagai Warisan Bangsa dan Negara dalam satu acara penuh adat istiadat Melayu.

Pemasyhuran dilakukan di hadapan beberapa raja Melayu dan kerabat diraja sempena ulang tahun ke-100 MCKK yang jelas menunjukkan kaitan rapatnya dengan institusi kesultanan dan kepimpinan negara.

Pada istiadat itu, Yang di-Pertuan Agong bertitah bahawa raja-raja Melayu akan terus menaungi MCKK dan mempertahankannya `selagi ada peredaran bulan, bintang dan matahari.'

Majlis itu bermula di Istana Iskandariah dengan penyerahan watikah oleh Pemegang Mohor Raja-Raja kepada Yang di-Pertuan Agong dan watikah itu diarak dengan tujuh ekor gajah sejauh tiga kilometer ke MCKK.

Perarakan itu turut disertai oleh 100 anggota tentera dan 300 pelajar MCKK.

Antara raja-raja Melayu yang hadir ialah Sultan Perak, Sultan Azlan Shah, Sultan Selangor, Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah, Yang Dipertuan Besar Negeri Sembilan, Tuanku Jaafar, Yang Dipertua Negeri Melaka, Tun Khalil Yaakob, Raja Muda Perak, Raja Dr. Nazrin Shah, Speaker Dewan Rakyat Tan Sri Ramli Ngah Talib, Menteri Besar Perak Datuk Seri Tajol Rosli Ghazali, Menteri Pelajaran, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein serta ribuan bekas pelajar yang kini menjadi teknokrat dan ahli perniagaan ulung di negara ini.

Pemasyhuran itu tepat dengan sejarah dan kegemilangan MCKK yang berjaya mengekalkan kecemerlangannya sebagai gedung ilmu bagi pelajar Melayu sejak 100 tahun yang lalu.

Sejak penubuhannya pada Januari 1905, lapan daripada 12 Yang di-Pertuan Agong dan seorang Perdana Menteri menuntut di MCKK.

Sepanjang 100 tahun usianya, MCKK juga tercatat dalam sejarah sebagai sebuah sekolah paling banyak melahirkan cerdik pandai Melayu daripada kalangan pemimpin, pentadbir dan tokoh korporat negara.

MCKK seolah-olah sama dengan membaca sejarah Malaysia yang dibarisi satu senarai panjang tokoh-tokoh pengasas, pejuang, perancang, pentadbir dan pelaksana untuk mengisi tuntutan pada zaman masing-masing.

Antara bekas penuntutnya ialah Sultan Pahang Sultan Ahmad Shah, Sultan Perak Sultan Azlan Shah dan Yang Dipertuan Besar Negeri Sembilan Tuanku Jaafar. Ia juga melahirkan pengasas UMNO seperti Datuk Onn Jaafar, Allahyarham Tun Abdul Razak Hussein, nasionalis Allahyarham Datuk Ishak Muhammad (Pak Sako), bekas Pengerusi DRB-Hicom Allahyarham Tan Sri Yahaya Ahmad, bekas Ketua Polis Negara Tun Haniff Omar dan Yang Dipertua Negeri Melaka Tun Khalil Yaakob.

Beberapa kerabat diraja Brunei turut mendapat pendidikan di sini.

Antara guru termasyhur di MCKK ialah C. Bezell (guru besar kepada Allahyarham Tun Razak) dan Zainal Abidin Ahmad (Pendeta Za'aba).

-Utusan Malaysia-

Being a Kuala Kangsar born and then entering the famous Malay College, proud am I to be part of this event. Nevertheless, with powerful ability comes great responsibility. In the past, many of MCKK students lead the nation in politics, economics and many fields. Yet, for the past 20 years or so, the leaders of MCKK bred were reduced and weakened the popularity of MCKK in comparison with other top schools around the nation.

Something great have changed the polarity in the school and the tradition that it is used to be. Many 'old boys' have sought the answer for this tremendous downward alteration. Past experience of mine have told me part of this answer and part of those answer lies on the culture and tradition established among its students.

With the coming of the new millenium and the advancement of other full boarding schools, change is a must for MCKK for it to play a significant role as in the past. Never be static and dormant with the past famous glory. Be vibrant and active in participating in various fields.

The new path for MCKK lies ahead. Successful or not, I will wait and see...

-old boy of MCKK-
Class of 2000

Saturday, March 26, 2005

cold day.....

Sun streaming from my window.....cloudy and chilling cold day of Melbourne....feeling like winter already...

In Melbourne, first rule to live happily here is don't trust the weather. Though you perceive the outside is full of sunshine and little bit of clouds here and there, expect it to be changed within an hour or so. Four seasons in a day - famous term around local people here. Within a day, you could feel freezing bitterly cold and went to the another extreme of totally sweating hot. The rule - don't trust the weather :D

Quoting from my friends

"if the Melbourne's weather is a person, I would diagnosed him as having Multiple Personality Disorder"
True indeed.

Friday, March 25, 2005

The answer....

well, after roughly a week publishing those puzzle, here is the answer.

the answer is the shape of an arrow :)

Only two people emailed me the correct answer. Thus, there are only two winners for this puzzle.

Congratulation to the winners. Unfortunately, I don't have any prize to be given to you all =).

This puzzle is an interesting one since the underlying concepts in the answer was quite an enlightening concept. The concept is to 'think outside the box'. If you were to seek the answer of this puzzle by trying to connect all this nine dots within the perceived box, you would fail.

We, as human being, tend to think in rather narrowed perspective. For example, when I talked with a patient, my mind goes elsewhere. Thinking of the symptoms and thinking of building a logical mechanism (read: side effect of PBL).

Thinking of the action of hydrogen ions inside the mitochondria inside a heart muscle cell encompassed with triple layers of heart inside the chest of a human being.

Thinking of the movement of the postive and negative ions jumping to and fro in the cell membrane of a nerve inside the airways inside the lungs inside the anterior surface of the chest.

When medical students see an electrocardiogram, they spend lots of times trying to elucidate it. They try to understand the reading of the ECG rather the patient. They forgot they are dealing with a human being rather than the pathogens. Common mistake of medical students and the doctors. In the end, they never managed to knew the patient underlying concerns.

think outside the box!

p/s : human life is also representing a box too. Many people live in their own perceived world and never knew the real meaning of their existence in this temporal world. Do you?

Think outside the box....and you may find out the real meaning of this life...

Sunday, March 20, 2005


Now, I am throwing the gauntlet to everyone. Can anyone solve this puzzle?

Can you make four straight lines which connect all these nine dots without lifting the pen?

I'll give you a week to solve this puzzle and I won't be blogging for a week to let you tickle your brain to solve the puzzle :)

Anyone who manage to solve this, can email me the answer for confirmation. Wonder who is the first to solve this ;)

Again, do you have what it takes to solve this puzzle?

Friday, March 18, 2005

Warning! Contagious virus.....

Few weeks ago, it came with two vectors. Then, within a week or so, it replicates and managed to infect another two subjects. First, they became the hosts for the virus. Upon chronic exposure towards the virus, their immune system fails and start to recognise those virus as part of the normal cell. They no longer able to detect the invasion of those virus.

This nasty virus then replicates within those two hosts many copies. One of the host was infected by more than 100 copies of those virus. Those vast copious viruses start to permeate their mind and body. No longer they think nor talk about people or the surrounding world. The virus start to orchestrate their act and attitude.

The virus is VERY VERY contagious. Most of my friends I know were already infected by this epidemic virus. From USA, Ireland, UK, Malaysia, Australia and even my own house was invaded by this virus.

The virus is called.....NARUTO. It originate from Japan and somehow, through the borderless internet, the virus managed to infiltrate many people.

My house is already become the hub of Naruto. From the first episode till the latest, you could find it easily here. The word 'chakra' or 'Hokage' perfurse into our daily conversation. Seriously.

Fortunately, my immune system still manage to combat and recognise this virus. But, I don't know how long my precious sterile immune system can defend and combat against those pervasive voluminous virus.

Currently, there is no treatment nor effective vaccine to kill this virus. Only time will tell us on the detrimental effect of this virus. The long term capability of this virus is yet to be discovered.

To anyone out there, if you could find any cure for this virus....please tell me :)

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

God is the light.....

How great the wonder of the heaven
And the timeless beauty of the night
How great, then how great
The Creator

And its stars like priceless jewels
Far beyond the reach of kings
Bow down, for the shepherd
Guiding him home

But how many eyes are closed
To the wonder of this night
Like pearls hidden deep
Beneath the dark stream of desires

But like dreams vanished with the call to prayer
And the dawn extinguishes night
Here too are signs
God is the Light, God is the Light

How great the beauty of the earth
And the creatures who dwell on her
How great, then how great
The Creator

As its mountains pierce the clouds
High above the lives of man
Weeping rivers
For thousands of years

But how may hearts are closed
To the wonders of this sight
Like birds in a cage
Asleep with closed wings

But like works stops with the call to prayer
And the birds recite
Here too are signs
God is the Light, God is the Light

How great the works of man
And the things he makes
How great, then how great
The Creator

Though he strives to reach the heavens
He can barely survive
The wars of the world
He lives in

Yet how many times he's tried
Himself to immortalise
Like his parents before him
In the garden of Eden

But like the sun sets with the call to prayer
And surrenders to the night
Here to are signs
God is the Light Everlasting
God is the Light Everlasting
God is the Light Everlasting

-Raihan featuring Yusuf Islam-

From the first day of our life, we are bestowed with many great powerful gifts and blessing that most of us have not realised. Upon learning the wonder behind all those great mechanism that human start to realise the existence of the Creator. Yet, many choose to be self-ignorance on the many signs of the Creator.

We breath everyday, every time and everywhere. Perceived to be a simple process yet it was one of the perplexing process in the human body. To take in fresh air and to breathe out, was a remarkable process. Coloured by many physic, chemical and biological laws, breathing is simply another sign of the Creator. The very fact that I started to realise upon learning the great wonder of breathing.

Human always strive for the greatness of his limited capabilities. From young, the environment taught us only the one who are the so-called genius and wealthy are the successful people of this world. We strived harder and harder to emulate successful people based on our immature perception. Some failed, some managed to get through to the next stage of life.

The value of a human being in the community are measured based on how much earning we could raise, so do we perceive. The poor one are the lowly class who does not deserve the same respect of the wealthy people. This pattern without we realised, starts to permeate through our mind, starts to orchestrate the development of the community and the civilasation of human being.

Before the lamps, human survival depends solely on the fire they built on. Before the building of dam, the water was very precious and even more valueable than the gold. Before the coming of today's modern technology, the nature was the human's best friend (or foe).

Today, everything in our life was governed by the human technology. No longer we need the time to search for water nor finding woods for fire, everything was there for us. The minds started to feel proud and arrogant. The essence of the Creator slowly being forgotten and ignored. Human thinks they no longer need the Creator to govern their life.

But when the force of nature came to visit them, we were struck with fear and hopelessness. No matter how great we are today, the Creator is many steps greater than the 'limited' human being.

Never be deceived by this temporal world of desire. Remember the sign of the Creator. Contemplate on the greatness of the Creator. Place hope and wishes upon the Creator. Subhanallah, all praise to the almighty Allah.

(Al-Baqara - 164)

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

RMH ....the placement

"I hate medical students! The last time, I saw...they examined my heart without my permission and they treated me not as a patient but as a thing to be played with..."

It was the opening statement from one patient I interviewed this morning at Royal Melbourne Hospital. Hearing upon that, surprised am I. Now, this will be harder for me. More difficult to establish rapport with this kind of attitude.

I was interviewing this patient with another female medical students. She quickly explored further on the reasons he hate medical students. He told us that the previous medical students never asked his permission (informed consent) and straight away examined his heart despite his protest. He was that time was feeling unwell since he was admitted to the hospital due to sudden heart failure. From there onwards, we got and learned a lot of Health Practise stuff. We learned on the financial stress being patient from low socioeconomic status and the burden of medication and treatment/ heart operations in Australia health care system.

I then proceed to eliciting his presenting complaint and managed in the process, to build up his trust on the medical students again. I also encouraged him to tell about those event on the doctor and he said, he will think about it.

Now, the hospital attachment was supposed to be a learning environment for me to learn all those clinical stuff but today, I was lucky. Beside learning the chest examination, I also grabbed important concepts of the health care system. Plus, learned the ethics too.

Interesting indeed.....

Sunday, March 13, 2005

purification of the heart

This semester, I learned about the chest and all the organs within, mainly lungs and the heart. Every week, we will be having anatomy pracs to which we dissect (read: cut the dead people) layers by layers. From skin on the topmost part of the body till deep to the bone at the back.

Up to this point, we have dissected the lungs and the heart. The smell of those cadaever (medical term for dead bodies) were unbearable to some and unfortunately, the lab coat we wears in the pracs smell of those awful stinky cadaever.

Scissors, sharp knife and blades and even big large saw, all those tools we have used to cut the dead bodies. Can you imagine using big large saw to cut open the bony chest? Sort of like killing people without mercy. Merciless we seem to be but that is what it takes for the sake medical education. The dead can still teach us a lot though.

I used to watch medical students cutting and peering on the heart. The heart of human being was not that big but the surface marking of it was quite unique, I say. I have to orientate many times just to get the correct view of the heart. The heart was slightly shifted to the left in the upside down way. The base of the heart was on top while the apex (that is the other end of the heart) was below. Some sort like a cone which was turned upside down.

Looking over the heart, I reminisced about one sahih hadith regarding the level of iman (fatih) of a believer. There are many levels of iman and the weakest of all were to comdenm the maksiat (evilness) in the heart.

There is another hadith regarding the heart, which the heart was described as the main controller of our daily acts and attitude towards this worldly life.

On the authority of Abu 'Abdullah al-Nu'man bin Bashir, radiyallahu 'anhu, who said: I heard the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu 'alayhi wasallam, say:

"Truly, what is lawful is evident, and what is unlawful is evident, and in between the two are matters which are doubtful which many people do not know. He who guards against doubtful things keeps his religion and honour blameless, and he who indulges in doubtful things indulges in fact in unlawful things, just as a shepherd who pastures his flock round a preserve will soon pasture them in it. Beware, every king has a preserve, and the things Allah has declared unlawful are His preserves. Beware, in the body there is a flesh; if it is sound, the whole body is sound, and if it is corrupt, the whole body is corrupt, and behold, it is the heart."

[Al-Bukhari & Muslim]

I used the ponder on those term of heart. In malay, heart mean liver but in English, it means the heart, the one which pumps the blood around the body.

Does the term qalb / heart is a physical terminology or is it a spiritual term? I wonder which one it is.....

There are certain things that we can do to purify our heart. In facing the turbulent storm in this temporal worldly life, the heart begs for purification. Too many evilness lies and embraced our own soul and heart.

al muhasabah - self accountability
al muraqabah - self reckoning
Dzikrullah - the remembrance of Allah

My friend has writtten good article regarding this matter, mainly al-muraqabah and al muhasabah. Click here.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

collateral damage

Once upon a time, in a land far far away...there was a peaceful and serene country. It was governed by a wise king who lead very powerful army. This army was very strong such that it had various special army units. Every unit was specialied in specific skills and loaded with omnipotent weapon. Each of those unit can produce their own weapon of mass destruction.

One day, several spy agents picked up foreign objects in one small town near the offshore. They brought it to the labs to be analysed and decrypted. Upon detailed analysis and investigation, those foreign objects are found to be special detonation bombs which will be exploded in given time. Upon explosion, these bombs can cause widespread destruction and could killed thousands of citizens.

This security matter was brought to the wise king.

"So, my dearest ministers...what should we do regarding this matter? This bombs is one very serious threat to our sovereignty"

"Dear king, I think we should investigate the one who send those bombs. Find out their exact location and their capability. If they don't want to surrender, we will use force to destroy them" suggested Secretary of Internal Defense.

"I agree. I will asked the army to secure our borders and locate those dangerous culprits." The Minister of Defense proposed.

Thus, the bomb were brought to the special army lab to be further analysed. The army scientist managed to elucidate the exact mechanism of those bombs and detect the weaknesses in the bomb design. Special anti terrorist squad were called and they were instructed to locate all those dangerous bombs throughout the country. Upon finding, they were told to reconfigured the bomb, if not detonate the bombs at safe places.

Several days later, several towns were hit by the mysterious missiles. Casualties were high, public fear were aroused. The king declared emergency throughout the country. The armed forces without delay were called to the site of explosion. Missiles come out of everywhere. Chaos emerged. The army could not handle those missiles since those missiles were superior than their own missile-guided weaponry. The enemy missiles were faster and none of the counter-air missile can destroy them. The army were almost hopeless. The citizens were trembling to the death.

"This is the same design as of the bombs we found the last time. I believe the enemy have managed to infiltrate our tight defense. We need to brought in our emergency special forces for this matter." proposed the Ministry of Defense to the wise king.

The emergency special forces were the last line of defense in the armed forces. They were highly specialised army that only to be used for very very critical situations. Upon instruction, they will kill the target without mercy. The weapons used were the nuclear and the hydrogen bomb together with highly powerful massive explosion. And they have their own secret weapon that nobody knows even the king himself.

Not only killing the target, they killed everything and everyone. A very dangerous army that can destroy the entire country if they were not controlled.

The king contemplated very hard. "I guess this is our only option. Our army could not find those enemy and the bombs were everywhere."

Days passed. Many enemy missiles pouring down upon the country. Even the palace was hit. The king was brought to the underground fort. The emergency special forces started their counter measure. For each enemy missiles detected, one nuclear was launched. The result, the missile were destroyed but together with the people nearby. Radiation was enourmous.

The emergency special forces travelled all the way from their secret undeground base to all parts of the country. They established their army camps and prepared their armour and shields. Nuclear weapons were launched from time to time. The location of the mysterious enemy were sought but to no avail.

Days passed to weeks. Weeks passed to months. Many missiles were destroyed but still the location of the enemy remain a mystery to the emergency special forces and to the king. The radiation from the usage of the nuclear weapon and their own weapon of mass destruction were catastrophic. Many towns were destroyed not from the enemy missiles but from the explosion from the massive their own nuclear weaponry. The emergency special forces fired at all the missiles using massive and powerful weapon but the collateral damage was so great.

Great headache was the king. Frustated were the armed forces. Feared were the citizens. Who and where are this mysterious enemy? Why they are attacking us?

The king finally asked help from nearby countries. He asked them to help his helpless army that have already destroyed many parts of the beautiful country. He gravefully feared that his country was falling apart from time to time. The emergency special forces were killing them slowly. The emergency special forces were out of his control.

The help came later. The air force of the nearby countries together with the aerospace armada came. They erected inter - satellite detection. Monumental stuctures were built. The location of the enemy finally, after all these months, were found.

To their surprise, the enemy was hiding deep inside in their own country. Hiding among the thick jungle surrounding the great mountain, the armed forces deadened. Nobody can killed the enemy as long as they are in the jungle of those great mountain. None of their nuclear weaponry can destroyed all those massive mountain.

Enemy missiles came from everywhere. Nuclears were launched. The king succumbed to tears and fear. The people were running out everywhere. Radiation could not be longer contained. The palace was destroyed and become ruins.

The armed forces of nearby countries were defeated by the physical barrier of those thick deep jungle of the great mountain. The jungle provides invisible barrier for the enemy. The combined forces of the army could not penetrate into those jungle. Hopeless were they.

The months passed into years. Ruins were common. Dead bodies were scattered. The staunch from the dead were unpleasant. The king were dying from grave sadness. His own loyal armed forces were frustated. The enemy was winning from day to day. Losing was inevitable.

This story was none of those science fiction. This story happened in the past, present and the future. This story shall remain a lesson and reminder for all of us on the great suffering of those citizens.

This is a story of our own frustated immune system combating the invisible bacteria who was hiding in the thick mucus in the airways of patient who were suffering from cystic fibrosis. The patient of cystic fibrosis were dying from time to time. The weaknesses lies in the defect of specific mutation in their own genes. The mucus were so thick that none of our powerful immune system soldiers could penetrate through. The mucus were so massive that none of the mighty antibodies could kill the bacteria hiding deep inside. The frustated immune system starts to kill the person slowly and gradually.

To date, many but not all cystic fibrosis patients could lived until the age of 20s. Fewer who could lived up to the age of 40s. The death were coming to greet them. Our very own health professionals are working very hard to crack this disease. Cystic fibrosis, one disease into which our very own protective immune system slowly becoming the very threat from within. The collateral damage was exponential. Collateral damage, the hallmark of the cystic fibrosis.

<a tribute to all cystic fibrosis patients from the Dr-to-be>

Friday, March 11, 2005


ITis - inflammation of information technology.

ITis, that is my diagnosis on my current condition. Almost every part of my life is infected by this contagious. Internet is my primary tool of survival. Within a couple of clicks, I will solve my PBL case of the week. Too easy for such research by the way though. If there are certain medical terms I don't understand, there is several online medical dictionary available for general usage. My favourites online medical dictionary and health-related websites are listed on the links that you can see on the left side of this blog.

At university, almost all of our lecturers posted their lecture slides on the medical faculty website. The website is called the Topclass. Thus, if I would like to do some pre-reading prior to the lceture, I would just downloaded the lecture material and then later, printed it out. Even our PBL discussion were done via the Topclass. Not to mention the announcement by the university or medical faculty or even by the medical student society.

ITis it was that I even scanned the thick medical books. I would borrowed from the medical library and brought it to the Student IT centre which is opened 24 hours daily. Scanned the pages I needed and later returned the book to the library. The scanning by the way was free ;)

Sometimes, if I were too lazy to walk to the next room in my house, I would just 'talked' via Yahoo Messenger or MSN Messenger. Symptom of severe ITis =)

At university, I rarely had the chance to talk or discuss with my coursemate. Everyone is always busy with their own study despite we go to the same lecture hall every day. Most of our commnunication were done via YM or MSN. Sometimes, I think I talked more online than offline *wink*. Pity me.

This blog is also another sign of this infectious disease. Although I rarely write (it is not I don't have anything to write, but too lazy to do it), this blog represent one of my coping mechanism in facing the stressful life of the world of medicine. The world of blog also represent my meeting place with my friends around the globe :D Everyone have their own opinions and expressed it for their friends to know. Sometimes those opinion were heavily discussed through chatbox or comments. Sometimes, the opinion were corrected and sometimes don't.

ITis....I wonder when the treatment for this symptom is available for the general public :D

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Latest hits history for my blog. It seems that my blog have many visitors from these 6 countries, Australia, Malaysia, USA, United Kingdom, Ireland and Japan.

Friday, March 04, 2005

the future to come...

This week has been a little bit hectic as the mid-semester exam is approaching. With the off-campus atachment to attend, the PBL case to be researched...and many more to-do-list...

I have visited the website for Advanced Medical Science and the list of those units were very long. I am perplexed on choosing the unit. For non-Melbournian medic students, Advanced Medical Science (AMS) is a special year for Melbourne medic student. In those year, the formal academic course stops. No more PBL, no more ICM, no more formal lecture (if you are lucky). All in all, it is a year for us to 'relax' before we succumb to the world of clnical years later on. It is a year for us to play with statistics and a year to endure the precision of numbers and calculations. It is a year for us to grasp the concept of applied statistics again.

Basically, in those year....I have to do one research on any topics that I choose from and later submit lengthy thesis to my supervisor. Depending on the unit and the kind of research I do, sometimes those thesis will be published on the medical journal to be scrutinised by the medical professionals around the globe.

Some of my friends, I heard, would like to do AMS at their respective home country and some would like to do here at Melbourne. I don't know where I should do my AMS yet.

Beside USA and war-torn countries, we can do our research anywhere on the planet earth even at Antartica, provided there is an opportunity and a supervisor. Not forgetting the financial support too.

The decision day is not that far now. A unit must be chosen. A profound insight need to be made. The future to come, I am still have not a crystal-clear view on those matter.

Reality it is end of 3rd week. 11 weeks more to go before the winter holiday comes. *sigh*