Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Two Weddings and Two Hectic Weekends

"Dan kahwinkanlah orang bujang (lelaki dan perempuan) dari kalangan kamu, dan orang yang salih dari hamba-hamba kamu, lelaki dan perempuan. Jika mereka miskin, Allah akan memberikan kekayaan kepada mereka dari limpah kurnia-Nya, kerana Allah Maha Luas (rahmat-Nya dan limpah kurnia-Nya), lagi Maha Mengetahui" An-Nur Ayat 32
My two weekends were really hectic but nonetheless exciting. In fact, the busy schedule started on Friday 20 July for on that day there were two akad-nikah ceremonies for which my family and I had to attend. The two akad-nikah were for close relatives. One, is the son of my eldest brother and the other one is the daughter of my first cousin.

The first question that one would ask is why two akad nikah on the same day ? well, the answer is all about the number 20-07-2007 itself. I guess, the chosen date is obviously easy to remember and it also fell on Friday. Nonetheless, as a compromise and also to let relatives to attend both ceremonies, the first akad-nikah was conducted on Friday after the Asar Prayer and the other one was after the Isyak Prayer. Syukur, Alhamdullillah. Both ceremonies went well.

My nephew whom I always refer to as Abangah, is now married to Azren from Ulu Bernam near Tg Malim. Abangah was born when I was still in secondary school. How fast time flies ! I can still vividly recall on how he as a baby, liked to cry so much. However, as he grew older, he became a quieter person and did not talk that much unless being asked to. As for my niece Dazy, she was born when I was still in primary school. Her mom was very close with my late parents as she used to stay with us for a short while when she was studying in KL some years ago, when I was about 4-5 yeas old!

For Abangah, I was asked by his mom to help in taking the photos of his akad-nikah and wedding as they did not engage any professional photographer. I accepted this request with glad as this would give me the opportunity to help out with the events and the same time practice my skill. For the ceremonies, I chose my Tamron 17-50mm and Tamron 28-70 as the main lens as I wanted to travel as light as possible. Of course, the Canon Speedlite 580EX would be the main source of light as the ceremonies (akad nikah and bersanding) will be done in doors.

I was thinking that if they were still alive, both of my parents would be very happy to see the wedding of their second grandchild. Normally, my late mom was a very spirited and organised person when it comes to kenduri or wedding events. My late father was also a very noble person as he liked very much to organise kenduri and to invite neighbours and relatives to come. Sometimes I just felt my father just needed an excuse to organise a kenduri. We used to have 3-4 kenduri a year when both my parents were still alive. That's the time when the whole family and relatives would come together to help in the cooking and also in other things. I guessed being an ex-cop, my dad like the idea of people getting together and help each other in a noble cause. In addition, I think that's probably another way for him to get closer to our distant relatives.

However nowadays, the spirit of gotong-royong is slowly diminishing in our culture. Most people will tend to engage a caterer to organise events be it small or big. Yes to some extend engaging a caterer simplifies many things from setting-up tents to serving the food to the guests, it will actually result in less collaboration among neighbours and also relatives. When I was a kid, I still can remember how we prepared the wedding of our close relatives. We sometimes spend 2-3 nights at the relatives homes just to help out in many things. We sometimes event slept almost everywhere possible as the house will be so crowded with people. But one thing for sure, event like weddings or kenduri will make us closer to each other. As for my brother, he also engaged a caterer for Abangah's wedding. Yes, the caterer was actually very good as they brought at least 15-member team to prepare food, serve the guest and also cleaned up after reception was over. However, I did not feel the same feeling and camaraderie of a real kampung wedding as before. Well, I guess this is the price of development and progress that we have to pay. The most important about wedding is not about how big and fun was the wedding ceremony and reception but how can we ensure the marriage will last forever and bless by Allah. Marriage is about responsibility when a man and a woman surrender thier freedom to become a husband and a wife. May Allah bless the newly wed Abangah and Dazy !!!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Photo Blog : Putrajaya Day Scenes

Putrajaya is one of the so many places in the Klang Valley area of which I really like to take pictures of. Naturally, I have been to this area so many times since even before 1998 when this area was still under development.In fact way back in 1997, I was assigned to work together with a Japanese utility to study the distribution electrical infrastructure for this highly publicised area. That work resulted in at least three trips to Tokyo for me between 1997 and 1999 and at times we stayed in Tokyo to work with the consultant for a period of three weeks straight. Long enough for us to know Akihabara, Shinjuku, Ginza and of course Tokyo Disneyland! One of my friends that was with us during the Tokyo work is vey fluent in Japanese as he used to study in Tokyo for six years. He taught us a lot of Japanses culture and of course, he knows many places where we could buy things reasonably cheap in Tokyo area.

Today Putrajaya is such a majestic city. I am not so sure of how much money government has spent on its development todate but suffice to say that much more money will be spent in the coming years. However, most of the foreign visitors that I have personaly brought to this place were very much impressed with it and perhaps, all the money spent on developing this area will be worth it some day !

The following photos are some pictures of Putrajaya that I took few months ago when I took my family for a Sunday stroll. In fact Putrajaya is not a very unfamiliar place to us as my brother is one of the residence of this city and his home has been frequently visited by us.

The two photos above were taken from a Putrajaya Boating Club near Precint 8. Perhaps, the views will be even better at night. The following photos were also taken from the same site. It is the rear view of the Putrajaya Mosque which also located just beside Putrajaya waterfront.

Near the Agong Palace in Putrajaya, there is a beautiful garden overlooking the Prime Ministers office and also the famous Putrajaya bridge. As this garden is located on top of a hill, one can also see overall view of Putrajaya and the following two samples photos can better describe the condition...

Well, the last photo is the picture of Gondai Jr. He was not even born yet when I first set foot in this area sometimes in late 1997, when Putrajaya was still covered with rubber trees. Insha'allah, I will be making more trips to Putrajaya in the future. One of the highest priority on my Putrajaya agenda is to take the night photos. Hopefully, I could find the time and energy to realise this 'project' of mine !

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Photo Blog : Night Scenes

I really like to take photos of night scenes. However, off late, I have not been able to take out my lenses at night due to many reasons and mainly because of time constraint and also motivation ! Out of few thousands photos I have already captured thus far, only few of them were taken at night. Well, to snap photos at night and to capture the views without using a flash, I got to lug around the tripod and this is probably the main reason why my night shots are very few.The following are some of my favorite night scenes which I have managed to capture for the last 4-5 months or so. Insha'allah, should time permit, I am going to shot some more at night and also to learn more technique to capture the night views...

These two photos were taken during my Management Course in Kuantan. The hotel is located by the Teluk Chempedak beach and I used long exposure mode for both photos.

On one of my trips to Singapore, I managed to capture the view in front of the crowded Mustapaha Center, a 24-hour shopping arcade in the republic. The photo of the mosque following that was the scene of Masjid Terapung in Kuala Trengganu after Isyak Prayer in early February.

Of course when one shots the night scene, the slow shutter speed creates so much spectacle to the extend the photo could be surreal. This is illustrated well by the two following photos. The first photo was the scene I captured in front of the Kuantan Riverfront while the second photos is the the night scene of the exit from Guthrie Expressway to Bukit Jelutong.

I have yet to capture the night scenes of Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya. I hope I will be able to that soon, insha'allah. Having said that, I have been able to capture so many day scenes of Putrajaya and KLCC. My next blog should highlight several pics from these outings...insha'allah

Sunday, July 8, 2007

What can we do to Help?

I went to the huge Shah Alam pasar tani to accompany my other half for a quick browse-through shopping. It has been quite sometimes since I last visited this market as I always prefer easy access and hussle-free shopping particularly when we are shopping for groceries. In fact, thats what we did early Sunday when my other half did her weekly groceries at one of the Fresh Market Store in TTDI and at the same time I washed the Altis near a Car Wash station there. As soon as my other half finished her shopping, my car was cleaned and thus, we killed two birds with only one stone, so to speak :-)

The visit to the Pasar Tani was primarily the interest of my other half as she wanted to buy some cakes that according to her delicious. Well, that was actually the initial reason but nonetheless she ended up buying a pair of blue-colored batik dress :)..see, thats one reason why I don't fancy going to places like this as what we ended up buying maybe something that was not in the shopping list at first. I understand the predicament that shes's having as she is now at least 1 size down as a result of controled eating habit and good food supplement. I told her that shes is now having a nice problem of having to reconsider reviewing her wardrobe collection to fit her new lesser look. Thats one problem I wish to have as I am not very discipline when it comes to eating and I think shes also helping me to control my diet by reminding almost on daily basis whether I have taken my herbal tea or not.

Speaking about Shah Alam pasar tani, as I recall this market was actually started up with Sunday Car Boot Sale maybe about ten years ago. During that time, the market was not so huge and the merchandised items were primarily used goods sold by inviduals. Today, it is a fulfledge market selling anything you could ever imagines like cars, furniture, clothes, electronic product, books and food, including fresh and cooked. When the market was not so crowded as it is now, this was one place which I patronized almost every weekened to get our groceries. Today, it is a struggle just to find a place to park the car as the number of people that turned up is probably in the thousands, and not only limited to the Shah Alam citizens. Sometimes, you may also find foreigners in this market as I think this place has also become a tourist attraction similar to the Chatuchak Market in Bangkok albeit smaller in size.

However, despite the tremendous growth and progress this market has acheived, the perennial problem of people begging along the crowded pedestrian walkways is still omnipresent. Sometimes these people are not really 'begging' as they play musical instruments like the keyboards to entertain the crowd whilst hoping that they will part with thier loose spare change, I think. This is normally the trend of the less unfortunate people of the blinds. Sometimes, there are also seemingly healthy and normal individuals who choose to sit down in the middle of the pathway and reciting verses of the Al-Quran hoping for symphaty and of course, some loose change of the crowd. Most of the time, they are very properly dressed and for the women strictly dressed according to syariah with tudung, and for the men, with kopiah or serban. I am not very sure of thier origins but I have seriuos doubt that they are locals. But whoever they are, they dressed like moslems but the sad fact is, they beg for symphaty.

There is one hadis from Rasullulah S.A.W. which says 'Sesungguhnya Allah Taala Mengasihi orang miskin yang tidak suka meminta-minta, sedangkan ia mempunyai ramai anak'. Clearly, in Islam, we are very much discouraged from begging. I did some reading on Bimbingan Mukminin by Imam Ghazali and found the following phrases (in Malay) which some simplifications by me.

"seseorang itu harus mempunyai adab dan kesopanan lahir dan batin, sama ada dalam pergaulan mahupun dalam perbuatan, dan hakikat ini harus diperhati dan dijaga".

"Dari segi adab batin, Membenci kemiskinan itu tidaklah dilarang, tetapi sesorang itu hendaklah menjaukan diri dari perasaan benci terhadap apa yang telah ditakdirkan Allah ke atasnya".

"Dari segi adab lahiriah, seseorang itu hendaklah menunjukkan sikap sederhana, tidak meminta-minta kepada orang lain, malah hendaklah ia sentiasa bersabar dan bermanis muka, tidak selalu keluh-kesah, tidak suka mengadu dan menunjukkan kemiskinan, bahkan hendaklah ia merahsiakan tentang kemiskinanya". Firman Allah dalam Al-Baqarah Ayat 273 bermaksud " Mereka itu disangka oleh orang, orang yang tiada mengetahui sebagai orang-orang kaya, kerana mereka tidak suka meminta-minta orang lain"

In short what I leanrned is that, there are roles to be played by both the fortunate and the less fortunate. For the fortunate ones, helping the lesser is always a noble cause no matter how we viewed it. However, as a moslems, we should strive our very best to avoid from asking help from other people as long as we have the capability to do it ourselves. Giving is always better than receieving and this is one quality that each moslem must strive for...

Monday, July 2, 2007

An Event to Remember...

In has been more than a week since I last posted anything. Well, I just could not find the time to write. So much things have happened. Some good, some not so great. Above all, I feel that I owe some time to write the event that has happened last weekend which probably worth to remember for long.

My office held a business forum/meeting in Cyberview Lodge and Spa on 30 June and 1st July 2007. Again, I was to lead the organising committee in preparing the event. Last year we had the meeting in Malacca and this year we were told to have it within the Klang Valley and Cyberview was finally chosen after surveying other places nearby. Also this year, we were not allowed to get family members to participate in any of the event organised. Nonetheless, to show our commitment to the company, this was a small sacrifice to make and almost all of us accepted this decision with open heart.

Cyberview Lodge is indeed a great place to have a business meeting. The conference room is huge with good ventilation AC, thick carpet and good sound system. The resort chalet is spacious with free computer and Wi-fi. I even had a 42 inch LCD TV in my room. My boss is even luckier. His room was freely upgraded to a luxury room which according to the hotel staff, the room of which Michael Schumacher stayed during his F1 Race in Sepang ! Some guys just have all the luck !

The first day of the meeting went very smoothly and peacefully. I could see almost everyone was enjoying every moment of the meeting no matter how intense the discussion was. Being away from the office formality really created a fine kinship among us. The meeting started with motivational talk by two invited speakers. Having been to so many leadership courses this year, I particularly did not find the talk any refreshing than the so many I have listened before this. But nonetheless, I believe most of my fellow office mates were motivated indeed !

In the evening right after we finished the Day 1 session, we had a mini-treasure hunt game among the office staff. The game though really tiring as we had to run around the resort compound looking for clues, was a major success. I thought everyone liked it because the game kinda brought everyone sense of cooperation and a bit of childhood memory. We totally forgot about our office ranks and we were all equal during the game. My team did not do very well though as we only got third placing out of the five teams competed...too bad maybe next year insha'allah...

Perhaps the highlight of the business meeting was the buffet dinner and prize giving ceremony conducted on the night of Day 1. When we had the preparation meeting, one of the committee member suggested that we had a creative presentation by the office staff to light-up the night. I thought this idea was great and suggested that each group of the 5S Zones present one show. The leader of my group was actually my PA and she wrote two poems to be read by her with the rest of the team during the dinner. I volunteered to play the classical guitar pieces during the poem recital and played Lagrima and Romance de'Amor to accompany the team. Of course, we had to practice the recital at the office 2-3 days before the event and the same goes to other teams for the eagerly waited show.

To award the best show among the four teams, we appointed 3 judges to give the score on the performance of each team. The judges were the dinner invitees and two of them are GMs. Each show was performed after each lucky draw presentations and I could see that everyone was truly enjoying the night.

The best team for the night performed what I would term, creative dikir-barat. The ladies led by Hisham as the tukang karut really gave a truly amazing show. They crafted their own lyrics and the lyrics were actually reflecting the office day to day operation. I was so proud and could not believe at the same time that we have so many creative personalities in the office. Bravo to them ! I was also lucky to win one of the lucky-draw prizes but unlucky enough to lose it later when I checked out from the resort. The 2-person Hi-Tea voucher must have slipped from my luggage during the frantic rush to check out..what a shame..

The closing ceremony held on Sunday was also conducted in a very relax yet serious atmosphere. Everyone was given the opportunity to voice up their grouses or frustration if any. Our VP was also present during the closing ceremony. Truly, he is very committed in his work and willing to sacrifice a lot to see our success.

In short, the business meeting and dinner was a true success. However, the success could not be achieved without the willingness to sacrifice and persevere by the office staff. This just proved that we in OPP, are united in our action and committed in our responsibility. I just hope that the management will see this as a good gesture by all of us.