Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Floria Putrajaya is here again

Flower lovers will be happy to know that the Floria Putrajaya for 2009 will be opened to the public this Saturday, 1st August.

This year's theme is ‘Celebration of Colours’ and you can expect a riot of colours at the show alright, especially because this year's main flower to be on show shall be ORCHIDS.
The event shall be held for nine days beginning 1 to 9 August.
Admission is free.
Yes, people say nothing in this world is free. But Floria Putrajaya is the exception. And what a nice exception it is too.
For details please visit Floria website here.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Swine flu hits UiTM Seri Iskandar

Syafiq’s campus at UiTM Seri Iskandar has been closed due to swine flu outbreak. At least 10 students have been tested positive with the flu.

So Syafiq is now with his Opah in Kampong Kepayang, safely away from the virus. He did complain of having a slight fever and a cold earlier this week. But alhamdulillah, he was cleared by an on-campus doctor as having just common cold.

Swine influenza virus is said to be very common throughout pig populations worldwide. But swine influenza was first recognized to be a disease related to human influenza during the 1918 flu pandemic.

The 2009 H1N1 form of swine flu is one of the descendants of the strain that caused that 1918 flu pandemic.

The H1N1 outbreak began in Mexico when it was first identified in April 2009. It led to the closing down of most of Mexico City’s public and private offices and facilities in order to contain its spread.

And, in early June, the virus spread globally. Malaysia is not spared, of course. Yesterday saw the first H1N1-related death in this country.

So everyone, please take extra to avoid being infected:

1. Practice good hand hygiene: wash your hands with soap and water often, particularly after travelling on public transport.

2. Use anti-bacterial hand gel: this is said to be better than using soap.

3. Use tissues: cough or sneeze into a clean tissue and throw it into a bin immediately.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The gift from Apak

During my pre-school days, there were only three kids in the family: my brothers Azmi and Azman, and I. We were very close to each other, especially because there was not much separating us in terms of age.

Being all boys, we were the heroes, but we were also the enfants terribles. We would run havoc and turn the house upside down on a daily basis. That our parents could cope with all the three of us at once is, perhaps, a testimony to their patience, and love, for us.

Oh yes, they treated us all with equal love and attention. And it showed, literally.

You see, whenever Apak bought us something, every one of us would get exactly the same things. The same batik patterned shirts. Same style of shoes. Same type of trousers. All the same, except maybe in terms of their colours.

One of the many things that Apak had presented to us all were these leather wallets. Perhaps wanting to inculcate in us the habit of saving, we had already much earlier received our colourful, animal-shaped porcelain coin banks. But the wallet, now that was something else.

I used to watch Apak as he prepared himself to go to work. I’d noticed how he would carefully put his wallet into the pocket of his pants. It seemed to be such an important item – one which he would never leave home without.

So you can imagine my excitement in getting my first wallet….my very own wallet. I felt like a grown-up man, ready to go out and work. Earn some big money.

That auspices day is more than forty years ago now. But the leather wallet which Apak gave me that day is still with me.

I cannot even start to tell you how I have managed to keep it with me after all these years. Because I really do not know. It has been popping in and out of my life over the years.

But one thing I know is that, I always have this thing in me that says anything given to me by Emak or Apak should be treated with utmost respect. They should be kept in their proper place and should never be given away, let alone be wasted, or lost. I would be consumed with guilt if ever I were to mistreat their gifts to me. In one way or another, I guess, it is these notions which have seen my wallet survive to this day.

The leather wallet is still fully intact. Well, almost, except for the plastic cover for the identity card compartment. The leather is still in fine shape, too.

But what really touched my heart when I was examining it recently was seeing my own name "Azizi A.T." printed by Apak on the inside of the wallet.

Apak had lovingly inscribed it himself using a pen (he had to, otherwise my brothers and I would end up fighting over our wallets). The inscription is still there, clear and un-faded even after more than forty years.

I will treasure this wallet till I die. And God willing, I shall not lose it again.

I might even take it with me on my mountain bike rides. Its design is so simple, and yet does the job just nicely for cyclists. After all, we cyclists just hate to ride with a big, fat wallet in our pants.

Thank you for the wallet, Apak.

You will always be in my memory, and may ALlah bless your soul. Ameen.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Purification of the Heart

I seldom take notice of the daily "breakfast television show" dished out by our television stations. To me they are just there, in the background, to accompany me as I bite into my toasts.
But last week, Wardina, one of the hosts on TV3, started talking about this book entitled "Purification of the Heart" by Hamza Yusuf.

It made me stop chewing on my toast momentarily. For I had heard that title before. But I could not pin-point exactly where, and when. Memory failed me, I went on to finish up my half-boiled eggs and promptly left the dinning table.

It was only later on in the day that I remembered the book had been lent to me by cousin, Iwan, quite some time back. I had browsed through it. But I never really got to start reading it.

Thank you Wardina for reminding me. I really do have to catch up on my reading, haven't I?

Allow me to share some excerpts from the book's Introduction :

"The sound heart is understood to be free of character defects and spiritual blemishes. This "heart" is actually the spiritual heart and not the organ per se, although in the Islamic tradition, the spiritual heart is centred in the physical".

"Many in the West have long proffered that the brain is the center of consciousness. But in traditional Islamic thought - as in other traditions - the heart is viewed as the center of our being."