Friday, January 27, 2006

Penang -Pearl of the Orient

On Saturday, Jan 28, I will be driving up north to Penang, my home state, situated some 625 km north of the Equator. Malaysians took advantage of the week-long holidays to celebrate Chinese Lunar New Year and the Muslim Lunar New Year at their home states or goes on vacation.
Penang is known as Pearl of the Orient but sadly the resort island is now too congested with motor vehicles and poorly planned development. The pearl is not shining as it used to.
The name Penang, taken from the Malay word "pinang" or betel-nut, was the first state in the Malay peninsula to be "colonised" by the British.
In fact, the first recorded British visit to the island took place in 1592 when the Edward Bonaventure, dropped anchor. Capt. James Lancaster and his sailors, many sick with scurvy, rested in Penang for several weeks, taking on water, fresh seafood and fruits.
The Union Jack was officially raised in 1786 when Capt Francis Light of the British East India Company took over the island from the Sultan of Kedah and it was flown until 31st August 1957 when the then Federation of Malaya achieved independence.

Divorce via sms

On Jan 19, 2006 a Muslim man who is also a member of the Dewan Negara or Upper House of the Malaysian Parliament, was fined RM550 (+-US$148) by the Sharia Court for divorcing his wife via the sms and voicemail msg.
Senator Datuk Kamaruddin Ambok, who hails from Terengganu state, was also given a stern lecture by the judge on the sanctity of marriage. The senator who is also leader of the Segambut Umno division, a Malay-based political party of the ruling Barisan Nasional (National Front) coalition government, pleaded guilty.
He violated the Islamic Family Law (Federal Territory) Act 1984, which among others stated that a declaration of divorce must be uttered in court.
I strongly believed that Kamaruddin failed to realise that marriage must be approached with utmost seriousness, entered with the purest intent, and cultivated religiously as it does not come cheaply and it carries immense reward. Among the greatest of responsibilities that had been placed upon men is that pertaining to the treatment of their wives. You dont simply divorce your wife by sms, it is a cowardly act.
By the way, a senator in Malaysia is not elected by the people but appointed either by the head of state, state rulers and governors, on the recommendation of the ruling party. Most of them are politicians, either rejected by the people in the general elections or not selected to contest in the elections, or as a reward for their loyalty to party leaders. A handful of senators are appointed to represent minority community, professional bodies, trade union or non-governmental organization.
I believe that if senators are elected by the people, a majority of them who are now in the Upper House, would not be there, Senator Kamaruddin Ambok included.

Nasihat Imam Shafie r.a.

"Kita sering mencela zaman, pada hal zaman tidak bersalah. Kitalah sesungguhnya yang salah. Kita telah menyalahgunakan zaman. Kita sering mencaci zaman yang tidak berdosa. Seandainya zaman boleh berkata-kata, ia pun akan mencaci kita."

Kata-kata nasihat ini disuarakan oleh Imam Shafie r.a. untuk kita renungi. Ia sukar untuk difahami, tetapi jika kita halusi maksudnya, kita pasti akan temuinya.