August 28, 2010

Up close with the monster within

THE gut-gnawing, H pylori, cannot be seen by the naked eye. On top of a pinhead, millions of these monstrous-looking corkscrew pathogens can be seen under an electron microscope.

They look like helicopters – except that their "rotor blades" are located on one end instead of being on the top of their peanut-shaped bodies. That is partly the reason why they are called "helicobacter" and the term "pylori" refers to their favourite fortress, the epithelial lining – in the lowest part of the stomach or the pylorus.

H pylori thrive in the gastric pool and swim with ease with the aid of their flagella. As voracious as piranhas they make mince meat of stomach cells, causing bleeding and peptic ulcers that could eventually perforate.

In Malaysia ethnic Chinese have the largest incidence of H pylori colonisation in their bellies while the Indian population comes a close second and the lowest percentage is among the Malays.

No one should attempt to take on these Jurassic-like invisible horrors through self-diagnosis, self-doctoring or self-medication with antacids.

Symptoms of H pylori infection include an unusually full-feeling in the stomach and sharp fiery pain from the navel to the breastbone with intermittent vomiting as well as nausea. The abdominal pain can radiate to the throat, sometimes to the back, the lower abdomen and of course the solar plexus and the apex of the shoulders.

Most patients complain of unbearable chest burn and a sourish-pungent taste flourishing in the mouth. Acid reflux is common during an attack and sometimes the symptoms of H pylori infection can mimic the symptoms of a heart attack and vice versa. That is why gastric pain and symptoms of acid reflux must be promptly examined by a doctor.

H pylori infection can be diagnosed via blood tests, breath tests and oral gastro-duodenal scopy and or colonoscopy. During the scope procedure the physician will remove some stomach tissue to be tested for malignancy.

A gem of folksy "scientific conjecture" has it today, that the man who left behind his legacy of the Nobel Prize, Alfred Nobel himself may have been infected with H pylori bacterium. This is based on what Nobel’s autobiographer wrote and what Nobel himself penned.

The autobiographer wrote that Nobel complained of frequent indigestion and abdominal discomfort. Nobel himself in trying to sum up his life in one terse sentence wrote: "I am a misanthrope and yet utterly benevolent, have more than one screw loose, yet am a super-idealist who digests philosophy more efficiently than food."

Undergoing MyBlogLog Verification

Drive Carefully and Focus while driving - Hati-hati Memandu dan Tumpu Perhatian sewaktu Memandu

ardspk | June 14, 2009 

randominpulse | August 26, 2010

smemelle | June 17, 2010 

bikerdawg350 | March 06, 2007 

BornToBeWild102 | March 14, 2009 

 Drive carefully & Focus while Driving. May Allah (God) safe us.

Tsunami in Acheh 2004

kirkpatrick321 | July 11, 2009
TSUNAMI 2004 Banda Aceh, Minggu People running down the streets!

choyot | February 20, 2006

Tsunami in Acheh

August 27, 2010

Children See Children Do

Flommivids | April 03, 2007

August 26, 2010

Top 10 best countries in world according to Newsweek

2010-08-26 17:45
U.S. has ranked a list of top 100 best countries around the world based on five categories: Education, Health, Quality of Life, Economic Dynamism and Political Environment.
The Scandinavian countries Finland and Sweden occupied the first and third places on the list. The United States didn’t successfully squeeze into the top 10 while China was rated 59th.
Following are the top 10 best countries on earth:
1. Finland

Helsinki, capital of Finland
2. Switzerland
Continue @

DIY Style: Floral Embellished Handbag

Sew this adorable purse courtesy of Bags in Bloom

By Susan Cariello Posted July 21, 2010

from Bags in Bloom

Project excerpted from Bags in Bloom: Create 20 Unique Flower Purses with Simple Embroidery Stitches and Easy-to-Sew Patterns

This large bag is just the thing to accompany any outfit, either casual or smart, on a sizzling summer day. The fine netting I have used for the oversized embroidered flowers is set off perfectly by the fiery red, textured linen fabric. Edged with rich, chocolate brown linen, the bag is finished off with a large pink button.
Stitches Used
• Satin stitch
• French knot
• Daisy stitch
• Fishbone stitch
22 x 24 in. (55 x 60cm) of red, textured linen for bag
22 x 24 in. (55 x 60cm) of heavyweight, woven interlining for bag
14 x 12 3/4 in. (35 x 32cm) of chocolate brown linen for contrast top band
14 x 12 3/4 in. (35 x 32cm) of heavyweight, sew-in interfacing for contrast top band
14 x 4 3/4 in. (35 x 12cm) of chocolate brown linen for handles
14 x 4 3/4 in. (35 x 12cm) of medium-weight, sew-in interfacing for handles
22 x 24 in. (55 x 60cm) of peach cotton lining fabric
4 x 14 1/2 in. (10 x 36cm) of heavyweight buckram for base
Fine netting in ecru, cut into long strips measuring approximately 1 1/2 in. (4cm) wide
Thick wool in dark eggplant color and bubblegum pink
Two small mother-of-pearl shirt buttons
Strong sewing thread in a neutral color
Pearlized beads
Cotton ribbon yarn in lilac and pale olive green
Sequins in tea-rose and lilac
Sewing threads to match the red and brown linens and the peach lining fabric
Magnetic clasp
One large button in pink

Continue @

Six Facebook Safety Tips

Take these important steps to maintain your privacy when networking online

By Clara Haneberg Posted August 09, 2010 


Connecting with friends on Facebook and other social media sites is a popular and fun pastime, but do you know how to protect your privacy online? In March of this year, Facebook came under scrutiny for changing its privacy settings, which made many users question the site’s safety. In response, Facebook stepped up its game. “Facebook has a lot of tools in place designed to allow you to keep some information private to the public, but available to your closest friends,” says Adam Pash, editor-in-chief of the technology site To help keep your online safety levels up to snuff, we asked Pash, along with social media strategist Jamie Ginsberg of, for helpful suggestions. Read on to get their valuable tips for creating a secure social network.

1. Share with Caution
You can share pictures and information on your profile, but it’s important to take precautions to prevent outsiders from viewing what you post. Facebook’s general settings allow non-friends to view your information. As a general rule, Ginsberg advises allowing “Everybody” to find you in search and to message you, but only “Friends of Friends” should be able to see your pictures and videos. Your wall and other settings should also be set to “Friends Only.” To do this, click “Account” on your profile’s homepage, select “Privacy Settings” and tab through the sub-pages to update.
2. Know Your Friends
Be selective when accepting friend requests. If you don’t recognize the name or picture, decline the friend request. “Why would you want to connect with this person you don’t know?” Ginsberg asks. “If you can’t come up with an answer quickly, then you shouldn’t.” It’s also a good idea to weed out your network once a year. “You should only have 10 percent ‘fat’ in your network—the people you don’t know, but want to get to know better,” Ginsberg says. “Just like you would prune a tree to make it grow stronger, prune your network to keep it growing.”
3. Consider Obscuring Your Identity
Altering your online identity has become a trend among college graduates and job seekers, especially for those users who post unprofessional content or haven’t secured their network. To do this, simply use a different name or switch your last name to your middle name under “Account Settings.” However, changing your name will reduce your connections, as people will not be able to find you under your legal name. On the other hand, Pash says, “If your profile contains information you’re not comfortable with a prospective employer seeing, then by all means, obscure it.” Obscured or not, Ginsberg encourages users to monitor their content. “I always advise people to run one profile really well. You should never have a profile that is not professional—period,” he says.
4. Pare Down Your Personal Information
Sure, your birth date isn’t your Social Security number, but “the more identifying information you add, the easier it’s going to be for someone to use it to gain access to your identity,” says Pash. Only list the date of your birthday—not the year—and an email address; skip any phone numbers or addresses. “If someone you know needs your address, they can email you to get it,” Ginsberg says.
5. Filter Your Photos
Review every photo for appropriateness and good taste. Decide what you’re trying to communicate through your online profile and immediately untag yourself in any photos that make you feel uncomfortable. If you have children, be cautious when posting pictures of them. Ginsberg stresses the importance of a secure network when posting family photos. The easiest way to keep things simple and safe is to narrow the circle of people who can see your photos and videos; select “Friends Only” for all media and delete any connections you’re not close with.
6. Check in with Your Children
Social media usage is becoming more popular by the day—Facebook reached 500 million users this July—so it’s important to talk to your kids about the importance of privacy. “Make sure they understand what information is safe for them to share,” Pash says. Help your kids set up their profiles (or check their settings if they already have one). If you don’t have a profile, set one up and “friend” your children. “Parents should definitely connect with their kids and engage in social media with them,” Ginsberg says. By regularly signing into their network, parents can monitor their young ones’ activity. Ginsberg also encourages parents to connect with their kids’ friends. “If parents make the effort to connect with these kids online, they will be able to connect with them in the real world as well,” he says. 

Should parents 'friend' their kids on Facebook?

NEW YORK: To friend or not to friend is the big question facing many parents dealing with teenagers on Facebook.

Three quarters of parents questioned in a Nielsen survey said they are friends with their children on the popular social networking website which boasts 500 million active users. But a third admitted they are worried they are not seeing everything their children are doing on the web.

Perhaps with good reason, as nearly 30 percent of teens said if given the choice they would unfriend their parents.

“The No. 1 parenting issue, as least with my discussion with parents, is living on Facebook,” said Regina Lewis, a consumer adviser with online services company AOL, which jointly developed the survey.

“It is part of the modern-day parenting reality.”

The average number of friends on Facebook is 130 but for teenagers it can be much higher, according to Lewis.

“I thought the percentage of parents who were friends with their kids was strikingly high. It is more than 70 percent,” she said, adding that children were twice as likely to want to unfriend their mother than their father.

For some children friending a parent is not always an option. In 41 percent of households there was a rule that children who use Facebook have to be friends with their parents.

“For some parents that became a non-starter,” said Lewis.

The friending issue is a delicate balancing act between children thriving for more independence and their parents’ desire to see what is going on to make sure their children are safe.

In nearly half of cases, children said they would prefer to be friends with their parents privately on the web without their parents having the ability to post comments.

Nielsen questioned 1,024 parents and 500 children aged 13 to 17 for the online poll. More than half of the youngsters admitted they do not personally know all of their Facebook friends, and 41 percent of parents said they knew half or less of their children’s Facebook friends.

“Friending friends is certainly a way to populate your list quickly,” said Lewis.

“That is why the number of mutual friends is one of those really important factors in figuring out who may be a outlier,” she added, referring to someone who shouldn’t be there.

Twenty percent of parents admitted they had told their children to unfriend someone.

Whether they are friends or not, Lewis said that to be responsible parents need to keep an eye on what their children are doing online. - REUTERS

Islamic Country without Fully Implementation of Islamic law - the Sad Story begin..

Reminder from Allah (God)

Surat Al-Baqarah (The Cow) - سورة البقرة

ayat 281
بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ
Sahih International
And fear a Day when you will be returned to Allah . Then every soul will be compensated for what it earned, and they will not be treated unjustly.

Dan peliharalah diri kamu dari huru-hara hari (kiamat) yang padanya kamu akan dikembalikan kepada Allah. Kemudian akan disempurnakan balasan tiap-tiap seorang menurut apa yang telah diusahakannya, sedang mereka tidak dikurangkan balasannya sedikitpun.

 The sad story begin when we muslim refuse to accept the Allah law (Islamic law) in full...

AlJazeeraEnglish | June 13, 2007
Malaysians who try to convert from Islam to other religions risk imprisonment.

Kuala Lumpur Journal
Once Muslim, Now Christian and Caught in the Courts

Published: August 24, 2006

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, Aug. 19 — From the scant personal details that can be pieced together about Lina Joy, she converted from Islam to Christianity eight years ago and since then has endured extraordinary hurdles in her desire to marry the man in her life.

A leading Malaysian civil rights lawyer, Malik Imtiaz Sarwar, who is Muslim, has advocated for Lina Joy, a Malay who converted from Islam to Christianity and now wants to marry. Under Malaysian law, ethnic Malays are Muslim, and need permission from an Islamic court to marry. Those challenging this contention have received death threats.

Her name is a household word in this majority Muslim country. But she is now in hiding after death threats from Islamic extremists, who accuse her of being an apostate.

Five years ago she started proceedings in the civil courts to seek the right to marry her Christian fiancé and have children. Because she had renounced her Muslim faith, Ms. Joy, 42, argued, Malaysia’s Islamic Shariah courts, which control such matters as marriage, property and divorce, did not have jurisdiction over her.

In a series of decisions, the civil courts ruled against her. Then, last month, her lawyer, Benjamin Dawson, appeared before Malaysia’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, to argue that Ms. Joy’s conversion be considered a right protected under the Constitution, not a religious matter for the Shariah courts.

“She’s trying to live her life with someone she loves,” Mr. Dawson said in an interview.

Threats against Ms. Joy had become so insistent, and the passions over her conversion so inflamed, he had concluded there was no room for her and her fiancé in Malaysia. The most likely solution, he said, was for her to emigrate.

For Malaysia, which considers itself a moderate and modern Muslim country with a tolerance for its multiple religions and ethnic groups of Malays, Indians and Chinese, the case has kicked up a firestorm that goes to the very heart of who is a Malay, and what is Malaysia.

Her case has heightened a searing battle that has included street protests and death threats between groups advocating a secular interpretation of the Constitution, and Islamic groups that contend the Shariah courts should have supremacy in many matters.

Some see the rulings against Ms. Joy as a sign of increasing Islamization, and of the pressures felt by the government of Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi as it tries to respond to the opposition Islamic party, Parti Islam Semalaysia.

About 60 percent of Malaysia’s 26 million people are Muslim, 20 percent are Buddhist, nearly 10 percent are Christian and 6 percent Hindu.

Malaysia has powerful Islamic Affairs Departments in its 13 states and in the capital district around Kuala Lumpur. The departments, a kind of parallel bureaucracy to the state apparatus that were strengthened during the 22-year rule of former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, run the Shariah courts.

“Malaysia is at a crossroads,” Mr. Dawson said. “Do we go down the Islamic road, or do we maintain the secular character of the federal constitution that has been eroding in the last 10 years?”

In rulings in her case, civil courts said Malays could not renounce Islam because the Constitution defined Malays to be Muslims.

They also ruled that a request to change her identity card from Muslim to Christian had to be decided by the Shariah courts. There she would be considered an apostate, and if she did not repent she surely would be sentenced to several years in an Islamic center for rehabilitation.

Mr. Dawson said Ms. Joy had been interested in Roman Catholicism since 1990 and was baptized in 1998 at Our Lady of Fatima Church in Kuala Lumpur. Because she considered herself a Christian, Ms. Joy did not believe the Shariah courts applied to her. In an affidavit to a lower civil court in 2000, she said she felt “more peace in my spirit and soul after having become a Christian.”

Because of the death threats, including some calls to hunt her down, Mr. Dawson said, he could not say where she was, and could not make her available for an interview, even by telephone.

Similarly, her fiancé, whom Mr. Dawson referred to as Johnson, a Christian of ethnic Indian background whom Ms. Joy met in 1990, had received death threats and was not prepared to be interviewed.

Last month, Prime Minister Badawi appeared to side with the Islamists when he ordered that forums organized around the country to discuss religious freedom must stop. The forums, run by a group called Article 11, named after the section of the Constitution that says Malaysians are free to choose their religion, were disrupted on several occasions by Islamic protesters.

The chief organizer of the Article 11 forums, a well-known human rights lawyer, Malik Imtiaz Sarwar, a Muslim, received a death threat this month that was widely circulated by e-mail.

With the heading “Wanted Dead,” the message featured a photograph of Mr. Malik and said: “This is the face of the traitorous lawyer to Islam who supports the Lina Joy apostasy case. Distribute to our friends so they can recognize this traitor. If you find him dead by the side of the road, do not help.”

Mr. Malik, 36, who presented a brief in support of Ms. Joy to the Appeals Court, said he was seeking police protection. “We must not confuse the crucial distinction between a country in which the majority are Muslims, and is thus an Islamic country, and a country in which the supreme law is the Shariah, an Islamic state,” Mr. Malik said.

Conversions of Muslims to Christianity are not common in Malaysia, though most converts do not seek official approval for marriage and therefore do not run into the obstacles Ms. Joy confronted. One 38-year-old convert, who said in an interview at a Roman Catholic parish that he would provide only his Christian names, Paul Michael, and not his surname, for fear of retribution, described how he led a double life.

“Church members know us as who we are, and the outside world knows us as we were,” he said. He was fearful, he said, that if his conversion became public the religious authorities would come after him, and he could be sentenced to a religious rehabilitation camp.

One such place, hidden in the forest at Ulu Yam Baru, 20 miles outside the capital, is ringed like a prison by barbed wire, with dormitories protected by a second ring of barbed wire. Outside a sign says, “House of Faith,” and inside the inmates spend much of their time studying Islam.

Paul Michael said he and other former Muslims moved from church to church for services to avoid detection. They call themselves “M.M.B.B.,” for Malay Muslim Background Believers. “It’s a group of Malays who are no longer Muslims,” he said. 

Every leader will answer for their own responsibility in the day of judgment, as a muslim who refuse to accept Islamic Law as part of constitution, they also will answer in front of God (Allah), don't forget that- ps

August 23, 2010

Ten communication mistakes Parents make

10 communication mistakes parents make

The way we communicate with our children today is a lot different from how our parents communicated with us. What used to be more of a one-way street is now very much two-way.

Jamilah Samian, a certified professional trainer and author of Cool Mum Super Dad and Cool Boys Super Sons, believes that in order to engage the children of today we need to give them feedback while not stifling them.

“In my time, kids looked at adults as figures of authority and knew that they had to listen to him or her without much questioning. That is not really the mindset of kids these days and it's a good thing, too.

“We want them to be able to think for themselves one day. We're not going to be there all the time for them and we can't do their thinking for them. So, if we were to think long-term, we have to train them to be able to think for themselves.

“If you keep telling them don't do this and don't do that, then how are they going to think for themselves? They need to be given enough space to define a lot of things but if there are certain things that you feel strongly about, then you need to explain to them why rather than saying 'This is the way it's always been done and you should do it this way'. They will really appreciate it if they know why,” she says.

Why you want effective communication

Outlining why we want effective communication with our children, Jamilah says, like it or not, we want to become their reference point, especially in their growing-up years.

“There are so many negative influences outside. When it comes to their decision-making moments, I'm sure all of us, no matter how open-minded we are, want them to make the 'right' decision.

“But we cannot become their reference point if we do not have effective communication with them.”

Another reason for wanting good communication is to impart our values to them. Here, values is not just about Asian or religious values. There are also values like being optimistic, personal responsibility, personal accountability, being non-discriminatory ….

The third reason is to have an enduring and endearing relationship with our children. We want a warm relationship with our children and we can only have such a relationship if we have good communication with them.


So what are the prerequisites to good communication?

- Believe. If we believe that we can have good and effective communication with our children, then we can have it.

- Attitude. If we want to enjoy good communication with our children, we need to have a positive attitude.

- Skills. It's not enough that we want a good relationship and good communication with our children. If we don't have the right skills we will be repeating communication mistakes over and over again.

- Knowledge. We have to understand ourselves, how we've been raised and we have to understand our children. Much of how we communicate depends on how we have been raised and the environment that shapes us. We need to understand who we are and why we are the person we are.

10 mistakes

With that in mind, Jamilah outlines and explains 10 common communication mistakes that parents make:

1) Having low expectations.
If we have low expectations about the kind of communication we have with our children then we are not going to push ourselves to make it better.

2) Not being able to move forward.
This is related to the low expectations. For example, if there are some issues with our children and we keep bringing up events in the past, we are not able to transcend beyond what has happened in the past, then we are going to get stuck.

The best thing is to just tell yourself, “Today is a new day”. We just have to leave the past in the past. We need to give communication with our children a good chance every day.

We need to keep in mind that change begins with the smallest of things and when we say things could be better, it's not going to be better overnight. If communication has broken down for many years, then we cannot expect it to be better overnight.

3) Jumping to conclusions.
We should allow our children to explain the situation instead of making assumptions and jumping to conclusions.

4) Be specific.
If we are not happy about something, we need to be specific about what it is we are unhappy about rather than generalising and accusing them by saying 'You always do this' or 'You never do that'. Not being specific and using ambiguous words will lead to miscommunication and jumping to conclusions.

5) Not being sensitive to our children's emotions.
When we are tired, angry or stressed, we tend not to be effective communicators. That's not a good time to communicate and there is a risk of being insensitive to their emotions. So, if you are tired or stressed, then wait until you feel better before communicating with your child. If it's not urgent, ask your child if you can talk about it later. If it's urgent, then you'll just have to do it then and there, of course.

6) Information overload.
We tend to communicate a lot of things to our children in one breath. Sometimes, we may not be happy about certain things that our children do and for some reason we don't communicate specifically what we are unhappy with. So it just piles up and piles up until one day we are so angry that it's like a dam breaking and everything goes out and we have forgotten what the specifics are. We don't even remember what we are angry with, and that's when we make generalisations and accusations. That is always something that we need to avoid.

Be specific. Don't say, 'You are lazy, you NEVER …'.

Words like 'never' – we really have to be careful of that.

You really need to be as specific as possible – what do you want them to do.

7) Not taking the chance to listen.
They need a chance to show us what they are capable of. And as much as we love them and are concerned that they might make mistakes, mistakes are the things that make people a lot wiser. So, we need to keep our concerns, worries and anxieties in check. Sometimes we just need to let them go, listen to them and allow them to make their own mistakes.

8) Not being able to rephrase.
Rephrasing is a very effective way to communicate. Effective communication takes place when the intended message gets to the receiver. But how do we make sure that this happens, because sometimes when somebody says something we might hear it another way. If you're not sure, say something to the effect, 'Do you mean to say that …' just to make sure you are on the same page. Being able to rephrase is important, regardless of how old the child is and especially with teenagers.

9) It's not just about listening; it's also about making a connection.
If we don't make the time to connect with our child, it's just a matter of time before there will be distancing between us and our child and then we cannot build trust and respect. Without trust we cannot impart the values we really want to impart to our children.

10) If there is more than one child, we need to spend time communicating with them individually.
When we have more than one, the elder ones are often given less attention. The child's age doesn't matter. Younger and older children need attention. Spend time individually with each child. Perhaps take each one out alone – time alone with mum or dad. Rotate them on a regular basis, perhaps monthly.

Taking time to do this solves a lot of problems, even issues like sibling rivalry that crop up in many families. When we make them feel like they're somebody and not like the rest of the siblings, somehow these issues disappear. If we want them to open up more to us we need to listen more rather than talk more.

Explain to them

Jamilah advises parents to explain the situation to the children if there are financial problems or if the marriage is going through a rough patch and the child is old enough to understand.

Jamilah: 'If something is not right with the family,
children tend to think that they are the cause of it.'

“If something is not right with the family, children tend to think that they are the cause of it. One of the reasons that you need to communicate with them about things is to clear the air. For instance, if your marriage is going through a rough patch, you need to explain to your children that they are not to blame, it is just between mum and dad.

“If you're not doing well financially, some children might think that they are a burden to their parents and that if they're not around there wouldn't be this problem. You need to reassure them that they are not a burden to you, that this is temporary and that eventually you are going to weather this storm as a family.

“The best news about explaining it to them is that they will understand and they will support you

New communication tools

While many parents today are on Facebook and Twitter, these new tools of communication can and must never replace the face-to-face communication between parents and children, says Jamilah.

“For me communication on Facebook and Twitter between parents and children is just an addition to the communication you already have. It can never replace face-to-face communication. There are certain aspects that you don't see when you communicate on email, SMS or Facebook. You don't see the facial expression or hear the tone of the voice. I see the use of these communication tools as more positive than negative, as long as it doesn't take over your life.”

When it comes to teenagers, Jamilah advises parents against saying anything or doing anything to embarrass the child in front of his or her peers.

“As far as possible don't say anything in front of their friends, especially with adolescents. Teenagers are very conscious of what their friends think of them.”

Disability is just a state of mind

Sunday August 22, 2010

I’M Aveena Devi, aka Avee. I’m 16 years old and physically challenged.

These two words may strike a sympathetic chord in many of you. “Wow, a physically challenged kid writing!”

Quite honestly, I just wish people would change their thinking about the physically challenged. And I would also like to see those like me free themselves of their fears or shyness and accept themselves for who they are.

By no stretch of the imagination am I saying that I’m perfect – far from it. The fact is, I too, am learning to accept myself for who I am.

But for me it’s been easy because I’m blessed with a large, loving and encouraging family that supports and guides me in whatever I do in life.

It’s not quite the same for others who are the only child in their family, or people whose parents find them a burden to look after. And then, there are those unfortunate people who don’t have parents.

Their lives would be very hard. More often than not, the circumstances have deep and lasting impacts on them and many turn out to be extremely shy, with perpetual sadness on their faces.

I have a sincere suggestion for such people: Find something that you find joy in doing. Like a hobby. If you don’t have one, explore and experiment with new things until you find something that makes you feel good about yourself.

I’m speaking from my own experience. I began by stitching bags from old, discarded clothes. When boredom set in, I stopped doing that.

Then it struck me that I like doing art. And, in the process, I discovered the joys of painting on drawing blocks.

There’s an old saying, “Good things will happen at the right time.” One day my mother’s friend took her to an art shop. It is in the same building as my dad’s office and mum was surprised that she had not noticed it despite being there many times.

She soon learnt that the man who owns the shop also teaches art. When she told me about the art teacher, I couldn’t wait to start lessons. As the Buddhist proverb goes, “When the student is ready, the master appears.” So true!

My life has changed since then. Art has instilled a generous dose of confidence in me and, as a result, I am happy with myself. It means a lot to me that I am not wasting my time sitting at home doing nothing while my brother and sister are out there achieving something in their respective lives. The process of exploration and experimentation has not stopped for me – nor will it ever.

Finally, I have a request for all able-bodied people: “Please treat us like everyone else; we need your understanding, not your sympathy.

“History is replete with many so-called disabled people achieving the seemingly unthinkable: Helen Keller, Nick Vujicic and Erik Weihenmayer are just a few striking examples.

The will of the differently-abled to achieve is much stronger than that of the able-bodied.

One request to the able-bodied: Do not park your car in lots reserved for the disabled, or use the wheelchair-friendly toilets. Please.” – AVEENA DEVI

August 21, 2010

syaitan itu tidak menjanjikan kepada mereka selain dari tipuan belaka.

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
يَعِدُهُمْ وَيُمَنِّيهِمْ ۖ وَمَا يَعِدُهُمُ الشَّيْطَانُ إِلَّا غُرُورًا
Surah An Nisa ayat 120

Syaitan promises them and arouses desire in them. But Satan does not promise them except delusion.

Syaitan sentiasa menjanjikan mereka (dengan janji-janji indah) serta memperdayakan mereka dengan angan-angan kosong; dan apa yang dijanjikan oleh Syaitan itu tidak lain hanyalah tipu daya semata-mata.

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا ادْخُلُوا فِي السِّلْمِ كَافَّةً وَلَا تَتَّبِعُوا خُطُوَاتِ الشَّيْطَانِ ۚ إِنَّهُ لَكُمْ عَدُوٌّ مُّبِينٌ
Surah Al-Baqarah ayat 208

O you who have believed, enter into Islam completely [and perfectly] and do not follow the footsteps of Satan. Indeed, he is to you a clear enemy.

Wahai orang-orang yang beriman! Masuklah kamu ke dalam Ugama Islam (dengan mematuhi) segala hukum-hukumnya; dan janganlah kamu menurut jejak langkah Syaitan; sesungguhnya Syaitan itu musuh bagi kamu yang terang nyata.

Bapa rogol anak kena 60 tahun
Oleh M Hifzuddin Ikhsan

KUCHING: Seorang bapa dijatuhi hukuman penjara 60 tahun selepas didapati bersalah merogol anak kandungnya yang kudung tangan, manakala dua anak lelakinya masing-masing dikenakan penjara 36 tahun dan 24 kali sebatan kerana kesalahan sama yang dilakukan terhadap mangsa di antara 2006 dan 2008.

Hakim Mahkamah Sesyen, Amelati Parnel mendapati bapa mangsa berusia 52 tahun bersalah atas lima tuduhan merogol dan melakukan sumbang mahram ke atas mangsa yang kini berusia 20 tahun.

Beliau menjatuhkan hukuman penjara 20 tahun bagi kesalahan pertama yang didakwa dilakukan pada Disember 2006 ketika mangsa berusia 16 tahun, di kawasan semak berdekatan Padang Golf Petra Jaya.

“Bagi kesalahan kedua, ketiga dan keempat yang berlaku di Pejabat Tanah dan Survei, Jalan Pending; sebuah rumah di Bandar Baru Semariang dan di persimpangan lampu isyarat Semerah Padi antara Januari dan Disember 2007, hukuman penjara 20 tahun akan berjalan serentak sebaik tempoh hukuman pertama selesai.

“Bagi kesalahan kelima iaitu merogol mangsa di atas motosikal berdekatan Padang Golf Petra Jaya, pada November 2008, tertuduh juga dikenakan hukuman penjara 20 tahun bermula selepas tempoh hukuman 40 tahun bagi kesalahan pertama hingga keempat selesai,” katanya.

Amelati berkata, tertuduh kedua, 24 tahun dan tertuduh ketiga, 22, yang juga abang kepada mangsa turut didapati bersalah, masing-masing di atas dua pertuduhan merogol dan sumbang mahram.
Mereka berdua secara bersama dituduh merogol dan melakukan sumbang mahram ke atas adik kandung mereka antara Januari dan Disember 2006 serta antara Januari hingga Disember 2007 di bilik mangsa di sebuah rumah di Bandar Baru Semariang.

“Hukuman dijatuhkan selepas mengira kepentingan awam dan teladan kepada orang ramai dalam memastikan anak-anak diberi peluang untuk hidup sempurna walaupun mangsa dalam kes ini adalah seorang insan kurang upaya,” katanya.

Terdahulu, peguam Mohd Fairus Masri, yang mewakili semua tertuduh meminta mahkamah menjatuhkan hukuman ringan kepada mereka berikutan keluarga berkenaan kehilangan anak bongsu berusia 10 tahun yang lemas, tahun lalu selain terpaksa berhadapan pandangan negatif masyarakat.

Bagaimanapun, Timbalan Pendakwa Raya Stella Augutine Deruce, menyifatkan kesalahan yang dilakukan semua tertuduh adalah sangat serius dan mereka wajar dijatuhkan hukuman setimpal dengan kesalahan dilakukan

Friday August 20, 2010 MYT 5:15:00 PM

Father and his 2 sons get total of 152 years jail for incest

KUCHING: A 54-year-old carpenter was found guilty of raping his disabled daughter. Two of his sons were also found guilty the girl.

The father was sentenced to a total of 100 years’ jail while his sons, 24 and 22, were each jailed 36 years.

The father escaped the rotan because of his age but his two sons were sentenced to 24 strokes of rotan each.

The father will serve 60 years in jail while the boys will each serve 18 years as some of the sentences are to run concurrently.

Apparently, the three were not aware of each other’s actions until the victim, 19, lodged a police report against her father, claiming that he had molested her since she was 12.

The three men looked silently at the floor when Session Court Judge Amelati Parnell delivered her judgment Friday.

Amelati found the accuseds’ inconsistencies and contradictions were merely an “after thought defence”, but the victim was consistent in all her statements and her evidence was not shaken.

One of the son’s early defence that he only went to the sister’s room and touched her, then masturbated in the washroom, was also deemed as a bare denial.

The girl’s mother, who was present throughout the proceedings, was praying inside the courtroom, but later broke down into tears when she learnt the outcome.

She also attempted to stop reporters from taking photographs of her husband and sons as they were taken out of the courtroom.

The eldest son in the family, who was also arrested but later discharged and acquitted for molesting his sister, was not present at the court.

In their mitigation, the three asked for leniency saying the family was financially burdened and that the father has a medical problem and was suffering hernia.

Their legal counsel Mohd Fairuz Masri told the court that the man was married to a housewife with five children.

His youngest son, 10, had passed away due to drowning last year. He said the family had no source of income since the three were remanded in February last year.

However, the Judge was not moved by the plea of family hardship.

“The victim was traumatised and in tears all along during the trial. On two occasions, the victim was referred to the Sarawak General Hospital. It is not deniable that the act had great impact on her physically and mentally,” Judge Amelati said.

She said the sentence was on the ground of the seriousness of the offences and the need to protect the victim from them.

The father was charged with five counts of raping his daughter from December 2006 to November 2008 at five different locations such as the government office where he worked, in the bush by the roadside near a golf course, on a motorcycle in a bush, in a bush near the junction of traffic light and inside their house.

The sons were each charged with two counts of raping their sister in a room in their house in 2006 and 2007.

All charges were under Section 376B of the Penal Code for committing incest which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment and liable to whipping.

August 20, 2010

Mercedes-Benz Malaysia Apprentice Training Centre (ATC)

Latest batch of Mechatronics apprentices graduate from Mercedes-Benz Training Centre

by suzhen
Friday, July 30th, 2010

ATC graduates fulfill the need for specially-trained technicians to oversee
every aspect of Mercedes-Benz vehicles

Mercedes-Benz Malaysia Apprentice Training Centre (ATC) honoured its fifth batch of Mercedes-Benz Automotive Mechatronics graduates in a ceremony at The Saujana Kuala Lumpur recently

The 25 apprentices who successfully completed the three-year Mercedes-Benz Automotive Mechatronics Programme represent a select group of highly skilled individuals who have been trained in complex areas involving Mercedes-Benz vehicles.

ATC graduates fulfill this need for specially-trained technicians to oversee and ensure that every aspect of its vehicle from its intricate electronics, safety to performance standards and play a vital role in the company's customer service set-up, ensuring Mercedes-Benz standards are maintained at all times and customers continue to enjoy the Mercedes-Benz experience.

The highly-trained ATC graduates will be based at selected Mercedes-Benz Malaysia dealerships nationwide, ensuring the company's dealers' network is equipped with the necessary resources to provide customers the best service for their vehicles. 

August 19, 2010

Truly Asia : Malaysia

Multiculturalism has not only made Malaysia a gastronomical paradise, it has also made Malaysia home to hundreds of colourful festivals. It's no wonder that we love celebrating and socialising. As a people, Malaysians are very laid back, warm and friendly.

Geographically, Malaysia is as diverse as its culture. There are two parts to the country, 11 states in the peninsula of Malaysia and two states on the northern part of Borneo. Cool hideaways are found in the highlands that roll down to warm, sandy beaches and rich, humid mangroves.

One of Malaysia's key attractions is its extreme contrasts. Towering skyscrapers look down upon wooden houses built on stilts, and five-star hotels sit several metres away from ancient reefs.

For the perfect holiday full of surprises, eclectic cultures and natural wonders, the time is now, the place is Malaysia.

* Further information



Royal Custom Museum - Kelantan

Light House during the Colonial times still stands today
Light House at Bukit Melawati

Bikes on the Wall Berlin Germany

Pick a bike on the wall

A bike shop in Berlin, Germany.
(Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

Editor: Fang Yang

August 18, 2010

Nick Vujicic No Arms No Legs No Worries !


harrish0789 | March 12, 2010

August 17, 2010

Malaysia Fisherman Indonesia Officer kidnapped Riau Flag Batam Release Burn Work Together

7 fishermen kidnapped in Riau

By Jassmine Shadiqe and Ahmad Othman

KOTA TINGGI: Seven fishermen are believed to have been kidnapped by a group of Indonesian Fisheries Department officers on Friday, about four nautical miles off Tanjung Punggai, in Pengerang, near here.

In the 9.45pm incident, which happened in Malaysian waters, 15 fishermen in five boats were stopped by several men who were in a boat painted with "Perikanan" (fisheries) on its side.

Three of the men, wearing Indonesian Fisheries Department uniform, boarded the fishermen's boats and forced them to follow them into Indonesian waters, about 14 nautical miles away near the republic's Batam island.

At 10.40pm, members of the Southern Region Marine police spotted the five boats and the Indonesian boat and instructed them to stop.

The Indonesian boat, however, sped off into Indonesian waters with seven of the 15 men on board.

Three of the Indonesians who were on board the fishermen's boat were stranded. The marine police detained the Indonesians.

Kota Tinggi police chief Superintendent Osman Sebot said the case has been classified as kidnapping.

The seven abducted men have been identified as Boh Kee Soo, 63; Chong Ah Choi, 58; Roszaidi Akub, 29; Faisal Mohamad, 39; Ghazali Wahab, 41; Lim Kok Guan, 32; and Mulimin Mahmid, 53.

"We are now increasing our efforts to locate and bring our fishermen back to safety. We are using diplomatic channels to ensure their release," said Osman.

Check on the three Indonesians in police custody, aged between 26 and 41, indicated that they were genuine Fisheries Department enforcement officers. They have been remanded until Wednesday to facilitate investigations.

Pengerang Fishermen Association chairman Abu Bakar Mohammad said the fishermen were in Malaysian waters and the Indonesians had encroached on Malaysian waters.

He also claimed that there had been cases in the past where the Indonesian Fisheries Department had demanded a ransom for the return of fishermen who had encroached on their waters.

"We hope the authorities would bring back the seven men safely. As for now, our association will try to ensure the welfare of their families."

In Jakarta, Bernama reports that the Malaysian ambassador to Indonesia has been contacted by the Indonesian marine and fisheries minister to find a solution to the case.

"I have informed Kuala Lumpur of this development and the need to find the best solution immediately so that it will not affect Malaysia-Indonesia ties which are in the best position since the past few years," ambassador Datuk Syed Munshe Afzaruddin Syed Hassan said.

Media reports quoted the Indonesian director-general of the Marine Resources and Fisheries Monitoring and Supervision Department, Marine and Fisheries Ministry, Aji Sularso, as saying that the incident occurred in the waters off Bintan, Riau.

Syed Munsye Afzaruddin said the Malaysian embassy here was now gathering details of the incident, particularly the location where the detention took place.

Malaysia, Indonesia work to free fishermen

By Evangeline Majawat, Ahmad Fairuz Othman and Ben Tan

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia and Indonesia are working together to secure the release of seven Malaysian fishermen who were detained by Indonesian authorities on Sunday.

In a statement, the Foreign Affairs Ministry said all detainees would be released once their statements had been recorded.

Following the incident, Foreign Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman had spoken to his Indonesian counterpart Dr R. M Marty M. Natalegawa, and both expressed their hope to resolve the matter amicably and immediately.

Fifteen fishermen in five boats were fishing near Tanjung Punggai in Pengerang, Johor, when they were stopped by men wearing Indonesian Fisheries Department uniform in the weekend incident.

Three Indonesian men boarded the fishermen's boats and forced them into Indonesian waters, near the republic's Batam Island.

The seven men have been identified as Boh Kee Soo, 63; Chong Ah Choi, 58; Roszaidi Akub, 29; Faisal Mohamad, 39; Ghazali Wahab, 41; Lim Kok Guan, 32; and Mulimin Mahmid, 53.

The Southern Region Marine police gave chase but failed to stop the men. The three men wearing Indonesian Fisheries Department uniform were then taken into custody.

In Kota Tinggi, Pengerang member of parliament Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said, who visited the detainees on Batam Island yesterday, said the Malaysian fishermen were treated well.

"They are being treated well. Those fasting were allowed to have their sahur and breaking of fast. We hope they would be released soon. I hope they would be back within two or three days," she said.

"The families of the detainees were allowed to see them, while some were allowed to telephone their families. I hope the matter would be resolved soon, and I believe it is something that often occurs at the borders of two countries and stems from misunderstanding."

During the visit, Azalina's entourage managed to buy a few Indonesian newspapers, which showed their focus on the three Indonesian men stranded in Malaysia.

Meanwhile, the wife of one of the detainees, Aslinah Mohamad, 29, urged the Indonesian government to return her husband, Roszaidy Akub, and his other fishermen friends.

"Please do not do anything to my husband. I have been praying for his safe return.

"He usually goes out to sea at about two in the afternoon, and returns the next day. I had packed some tenggiri fish curry for him that day. He is a good man and will never intentionally break the law."

In Jakarta, Antara news agency reported Natalegawa as saying that the case of the seven Malaysian fishermen would be settled through due legal process.

"Their case is being handled by the relevant authorities," he told newsmen after attending President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's state address at the House of Representatives.

Some 50 members from a non-governmental organisation, Laskar Merah Putih, protested in front of the Malaysian Embassy in Jakarta.

The 21/2-hour protest was to demand the release of the three personnel from the Indonesian Marine and Fisheries Department who were detained by the Malaysian authorities.

In Kuala Lumpur, the Association of Malaysian and Indonesian Journalists (Iswami) pro-tem chairman Datuk Ahmad A. Talib, in a statement, appealed to all the parties involved to stay calm.

He said Iswami understood that individuals and organisations had their freedom of speech, but regarded the latest development at the Malaysian Embassy in Jakarta as something unexpected.

He added that Iswami did not wish to see the relationship between Malaysia and Indonesia affected due to some irresponsible parties.

Indonesia releases seven Malaysian fishermenThe Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Tue, 08/17/2010 10:32 AM

The Indonesian maritime affairs and fisheries ministry released on Tuesday seven Malaysian fishermen who have been detained for illegally fishing in Riau waters.

In exchange for the release, Malaysia freed three Indonesian officers it held as hostages during the Riau waters fishing incident.

Antara news agency reported that the seven Malaysian fishermen had departed from Batam at 8.30 to Johor Baru, Malaysia.

Malaysia releases three Indonesian officers

The Jakarta Post | Tue, 08/17/2010 10:02 AM

Malaysian Police finally released three Indonesian officers on Tuesday after keeping them as hostages following an incident involving two countries' officers in Riau waters. reported that Malaysia had no enough evidences to further detain the three Indonesian officers.

Pontianak maritime affairs and fisheries monitoring station head Bambang Nugroho said that the three officers were expected to participate in the ceremony of the 65th anniversary of Indonesian Independence at the Indonesian consulate general in Johor later on the day.

The three officers - Asriadi, Erwan, Seivo Grevo Wewengkang - were among other officers who captured Malaysian fishermen illegaly operating in Riau waters on Friday, but they were then detained by Malaysian Police who chased them and tried to stop the arrest of Malaysian fishermen.

70 Malasyian flags burned in Batam

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Tue, 08/17/2010 11:18 AM

As many as 70 Malaysian flags were burned on Tuesday in Batam by a local youth organization.

The organization called Pemuda Pancasila burned the flags as a protest to Malaysia for breaching Indonesian territory.

The incident took place at the Batam Center, the International ferry terminal.

Teenagers may develop asthma by taking paracetamol

London, August 14, 2010

Teenagers could double their risk of developing asthma by taking paracetamol, a widely used over-the-counter pain reliever, even once a month, scientists in New Zealand have said. Adolescents who use the painkiller at least once a year have a 50 percent increase in risk compared with those who
don’t, a study found.

The international report, covering 300,000 teenagers in 50 countries, also found paracetamol users were more likely to suffer from eczema and allergic nasal conditions, the Daily Mail reported Friday.

Scientists believe paracetamol may cause changes in the body that leave children more vulnerable to inflammation and allergies.

The study adds to mounting evidence of a link between the painkiller and asthma, with previous research into adults and babies suggesting its use increased the risk of the disease.

A report in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine says paracetamol has not been proven to cause asthma, but there was a 'significant association'.

More exposure to the drug resulted in a greater chance of developing the condition.

The study, headed by Dr Richard Beasley of the Medical Research Institute of New Zealand, sent written and video questionnaires to more than 300,000 children aged 13 and 14 asking them how often they used paracetamol, also known as acetaminophen.

High use was at least once in the last month and medium at least once in the last year, compared with those who never used it.

Those using the drug monthly had double the risk of asthma, while those taking it at least once a year had a 50 percent rise in risk.

For medium users, the risk of eczema was 43 percent higher than non-users while high users were two-and-a-half times more likely to suffer skin rashes.

There were similarly higher risks of allergic nasal disorders among users. Beasley said if further research proved a link, limiting the use of paracetamol among teenagers could cut asthma cases by up to 40 percent.

He said "If the associations were causal, they would be of major public health significance. Randomised controlled trials are urgently required to investigate this relationship further and to guide the use of antipyretics (fever reducing medication), not only in children but in pregnancy and adult life."

Charity Asthma UK, however, said while the research had found a link, there was no need for parents to stop their children using the drug at this stage.

August 16, 2010

Sumpah Setia Sumpah Suka Suka

Junjung al-Quran


KUALA LUMPUR: Mereka menjunjung al-Quran sambil bersumpah taat setia dengan nama Allah SWT, tetapi pada masa sama tergamak meneguk arak, berzina selain bertindak sebagai kaki pukul.
Perkara itu didedahkan individu yang menduduki hierarki tertinggi dalam sebuah pertubuhan selepas bimbang dengan trend ‘langgar sumpah’ yang semakin menjadi-jadi kebelakangan ini.

“Walaupun pahit untuk menyatakan kebenaran ini tetapi saya perlu lakukannya kerana ramai yang seperti sudah termakan sumpah. Bukan saja orang biasa, beberapa artis yang sudah berbai’ah (sumpah taat setia) juga tidak terkecuali.

“Ada beberapa artis sudah bersumpah dengan nama Allah, tetapi berbuat perkara mungkar sehingga hidup menjadi tidak tentu hala. Mereka bersumpah mengikut suruhan serta meninggalkan laranganNya, namun sumpah hanya di bibir saja,” katanya.

Individu dikenali sebagai Ayah Haji itu berkata, artis yang menjadi ahli kepada beberapa pertubuhan yang mensyaratkan ahlinya melafazkan sumpah taat setia sudah melanggar sumpah sehingga ditimpa musibah.
“Cukup saya katakan beberapa artis yang dimaksudkan sudah hilang populariti akibat beberapa ‘hal mungkar’ yang dilakukan. Semoga mereka sedar dan bermuhasabah diri.

“Mereka masih ada peluang untuk berubah,” katanya yang sudah berpuluh tahun menyertai sebuah pertubuhan.

Ayah Haji berkata, sumpah taat setia dilafaz bukan perkara ‘suka-suka’ dan boleh dipandang ringan.

“Sumpah dibuat dengan nama Allah sambil menjunjung al-Quran. Ahli menyebut Wallahi, Wabillahi, Watallahi.... bersumpah bahawa akan taat setia kepada agama dan mengikut segala suruhan serta meninggalkan laranganNya. Bukan itu saja, sumpah dibuat diakhiri dengan sumpah mengatakan jika mungkir janji dibuat akan ditimpa bala, malah tidak selamat di dunia dan akhirat, tetapi apa yang berlaku, kebanyakan daripada mereka membuat sumpah itu seperti mainan.

“Ada yang terus dengan tabiat minum arak, ambil dadah, ‘kaki betina’ dan ‘kaki pukul’. Jelas, sumpah dibuat dilanggar dan tidak hairan pelbagai masalah menimpa mereka,” katanya.

Ayah Haji mengakui sudah melihat ramai ahli pertubuhannya menderita gara-gara bersumpah sesuka hati.

“Macam-macam yang sudah saya lihat. Ada yang keluarga porak peranda, perniagaan jatuh merudum, dipenjara, cacat, malah mati pun ada. Semua berlaku kerana berbuat kemungkaran.
“Sudah bersumpah menyeru ke arah kebaikan, mencegah kemungkaran, tetapi menjadi ‘kaki betina’ sehingga keluarga porak peranda, jadi ‘kaki pukul’ sehingga cacat, malah mati dalam pergaduhan dan jadi penagih serta pengedar dadah sehingga dipenjarakan,” katanya.

Menurut Ayah Haji, sehingga hari ini dia masih mengingati kisah salah seorang ahli pertubuhan yang kini lumpuh separuh badan.

“Ahli itu bersungguh-sungguh berbai’ah, namun hanya dalam tempoh beberapa jam selepas itu, dia ke disko, berfoya-foya dengan wanita sambil mabuk kononnya mahu meraikan penyertaannya dalam pertubuhan.

“Beberapa bulan selepas itu, dia jatuh di bilik air dan lumpuh separuh badan,” katanya.

Ayah Haji berkata, ada juga yang berbai’ah dalam keadaan khayal, mabuk dan tidak suci.

“Ada yang pandai ‘berlakon’. Ketika bersumpah taat setia menggunakan nama Allah, muka nampak tak buat apa-apa kesalahan, tetapi sebenarnya dalam keadaan khayal kerana dadah, mabuk kerana arak dan tidak suci, tidak kiralah belum mandi wajib atau baru lepas berzina.

“Bayangkan betapa mudahnya individu yang tidak memahami perjuangan melafazkan sumpah. Sama ada mereka sedar atau saja buat tidak tahu, sumpah dengan nama Allah bukan perkara yang boleh dibuat main-main,” katanya.

Begitupun, Ayah Haji berkata, bukan semua ahli melanggar sumpah, kerana masih ada yang benar-benar memahami dan mengamalkan sumpah yang dilafazkan.

“Yang menyertai perjuangan dengan ikhlas, tahu sumpah dilafazkan bukan mainan. Ada yang dulu jahat sehingga digelar ‘setan’, kini berubah.

“Apabila kita faham sumpah yang dibuat dan tahu tanggungjawab terhadap sumpah dibuat, usaha menyeru ke arah kebaikan, mencegah kemungkaran, mengikut suruhan serta meninggalkan laranganNya dapat dilaksanakan,” katanya.

Seorang lagi individu berpangkat tinggi dalam sebuah pertubuhan yang enggan dikenali berkata, kebanyakan individu yang mahu menyertai pertubuhan yang meletakkan syarat mengangkat sumpah taat setia sebelum diterima sebagai ahli berasa selamat dan kuat jika menyertai pertubuhan itu.

“Yang nyata, ramai yang mahu masuk pertubuhan kerana kononnya mendapat perlindungan ahli lain. Jika ada orang lain cari pasal, boleh panggil ahli lain bantu dan apabila sudah ramai, rasa diri selamat dan kuat.

“Jangan terkejut, ada yang bayaran kereta tertunggak mahu jadi ahli kononnya selepas jadi ahli, kereta boleh terus digunakan tanpa gangguan daripada penarik kereta kerana ahli lain boleh beri perlindungan. Golongan seperti ini tidak faham perjuangan dan sumpah dibuat, malah menggunakan pertubuhan untuk kepentingan diri sendiri.

“Ini semua salah. Perjuangan yang kita maksudkan bukan begini. Tetapi bila bilangan anggota menjadi ramai, ada yang lupa daratan dan gilakan kuasa. Akhirnya persatuan jadi huru hara,” katanya. 

Expatriates full throttle with fasting

Ika Krismantari, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta
Sat, 08/14/2010 11:23 AM

The first time is always the hardest.

That is the conclusion that can be made from the experience of Muslim expatriates when it comes to fasting, a requirement of Islam, stipulating Muslims must not eat and drink, and control their emotions during the day.

Take 30-year-old housewife Maria Myutel from Russia for example. She experienced the first Ramadan, the holy month of fasting, in Mumbai, India, where she converted to Islam in 2005.

“I lost a bit of weight and was sick most of the time,” the mother of two said.

She realized that was because she did not know how to fast properly.

Not until she married an Indonesian man and went to Jakarta where she learned the right way to do it. However, Maria had not been able to fast for few years due to two pregnancies. Being a Muslim for almost five years, she only fasted for full month twice and hopefully will make it a third time this year. She even fasted when she breastfed her first son in 2007.

“I am surprised, but I could produce enough milk, and my son is healthy,” the woman who lives with her family in Ciledug, Tangerang said.

But that doesn’t mean fasting is an easy feat for her.

“The hardest thing to do is not drink,” she said.

Jafar, 40, from the US, also encounters difficulty fasting.

“The first time was difficult because it was something new and the most difficult thing was being hungry,” the man said, sharing his first experience on fasting in Pennsylvania, the US.

Jafar said he did not fast for 10 days during his first attempt.

But, amazingly after that, he has never failed. This year will be Jafar’s 20th time fasting for Ramadan.

“I realized that I have fasted for two years of my life. I counted in all, I’ve fasted for more than 600 days,” he said.

The man, who works as a consultant for the Indonesian government, said he converted to Islam 20 years ago in the US after undertaking “personal study”.

“In some [religions], I found internal contradictions especially in philosophy. Sometimes they say nice things, but they do not guide you through your life.

“But after reading the Koran in English, I didn’t find any contradictions. That is probably the main thing that convinced me,” said the man who has been living in Indonesia for 13 years.

When it comes to fasting, Jafar sees it as more than not eating and drinking. He sees it as more like spiritual learning, through which people can improve their spiritual quotient. “It teaches you to understand that you don’t need that much food. You realize eating twice a day is enough,” the man said.

Like other Muslim expats, both Jafar and Maria are excited by the chance to experience the holy month in the capital of Indonesia, the world’s biggest Muslim country, where more than 80 percent of the people are Muslims.

“I like the way people in Jakarta operate during Ramadan, for example, I like the spirit of the people preparing breakfast in offices,” Maria said, embracing the sense of togetherness among people during the holy month.

Agreeing with Maria, Jafar said celebrating Lebaran was nicer here as people got together to rejoice the victorious moment in the festivity days after the end of fasting month.

There is no official data on how many Muslim expatriates are living in Jakarta.

However, some gather and meet routinely through communities that accommodate their needs to learn more about Islam.

One such organization that exists in Jakarta is Rahmania Foundation.

August 15, 2010

Is pop music sexualising our children?

Yes : Radbrowser
Watch their dressing and ask the children what they think..

The real article is here
The debate: music journalist Victoria Segal and feminist blogger Laurie Penny debate the effects of pop music on children, in the wake of record producer Mike Stock's comment that most R&B videos are like soft porn

Ants can help us manage complexity : Peter Miller

Groups always tend to work better than individuals in nature. Ant colonies, beehives, termite mounts, flocks of birds, schools of fish are healthier, smarter and stronger when working in teams, the sum much greater than the parts. Ants, in particular, have become the poster creature for social society, to the extent that their social behaviour is so highly evolved that nothing an ant does makes sense outside of how it serves its colony. They have perfected a life that is more collegiate than anything achieved by humans, and had developed architecture and built farms millions of years before our primate ancestors had even considered walking on two legs. Now scientists are looking at how ants and other creatures that function efficiently in colonies or swarms might help humans better manage complex systems and logistical problems of their own – from boarding an aeroplane to large-scale truck routing.

Social climbers: ants have evolved behaviour that complexity 
scientists can turn into mathematical instructions.

What is it like living in an ant colony?

Consider the problems that an ant colony has. It has to survive the heat, it has to survive competition from other colonies as well as from predators – there's always a lizard out there looking to slurp down some stray foragers. It has to find food. And each day the colony has to allocate its resources in a way that solves all those problems.

Each ant is not smart enough to make decisions like this. It doesn't understand the needs of the colony. It doesn't even understand why it's doing what it's doing, if you listen to the experts. In fact, it doesn't even remember things from 10 seconds to the next 10 seconds.

So everything has been evolved to work through interactions among the ants. Individually each ant can't get much done, but put 10,000 of them together and they can find the nearest source of food quickly and efficiently.

How do the ants communicate with each other?

They learn lots of things about each other. Take the ants that are waiting inside the nest entrance, for example. When an ant comes back, it has to be one of their nest mates. So the first thing they do is smell to see if it belongs to their nest. They can tell instantly, if it doesn't they'll attack it. The second thing is they'll be able to smell that this ant has been working outside, because the hydrocarbons coding that it has changes in the sunlight. And the third thing is they'll be able to smell the food that the ant is carrying. So you put all those things together with the rate of interaction that I mentioned before and you have a pretty good system.

The biologist EO Wilson calls an ant colony a 'superorganism' - could you take us through what that is?

A superorganism means that evolution is working, natural selection is working at the level of the colony, not the level of the ant. The ants are quite expendable, unfortunately. It helps to think about the ants as components of the colony, in the same way that our skin, fingernails, cells, heart or blood are components in our body. They don't make any sense by themselves, but when you put them together in a body, then you have something that has needs and wants and problem‑solving abilities.

In your book you describe how to use this understanding of ants in the human world – boarding aeroplanes, for example.

A few years ago Southwest Airlines wanted to find out whether changing from open-seating, which allows passengers to pick any seat on the plane, to reserved seating, would speed up boarding times. So they asked one of their computer programmers to analyse this and figure out the best way to do it. He looked into it and thought: here we have a lot of individuals trying to cram into a tight space and optimise their position. This is a bit like the ants I see in my neighbourhood, where there are lots of different ants all jockeying for position. So he created a computer simulation with cognitive moving objects, which in his mind resembled ants.

He found out, by running the program with little simulated ants boarding the plane, over and over again, in different combinations, that it wasn't to the advantage of the company to switch over. It was a little faster, but not fast enough.

I thought it was fascinating that a person charged with a very practical problem would think about it from a biological perspective.

It sounds like a very good solution to an engineering problem. So could you use that knowledge in engineering?

Absolutely. One of the more surprising examples that I came across was a company in Texas, Air Liquide, a US division of a French company that makes industrial gas – they have a very complicated business problem. They have 100 different factories making nitrogen, oxygen, argon... all kinds of gases, and they have thousands of customers, hundreds of trucks and lots of pipelines. On top of all that, they have to contend with the fact that the price of electricity varies every minute in Texas, because the rate is deregulated. So how could they optimise all of this activity so that they were making the most profit?

They had, over the years, developed various algorithms and systems to do this, individually, which were working pretty well, but they needed something to pull it all together. So they brought in some complexity scientists, who said, "Well, you know, an ant colony is a good model for this, because they have to deal with complexity in their environment and they've evolved some behaviours that we have been able to translate into algorithms" – in other words mathematical instructions. So they took the algorithms from the ant colony and applied it to the business problems of Air Liquide. The result was what they called their "optimiser" – a giant program that they run every evening. They put in all the variables, then let the ant algorithms chop away at them all night long. In the morning it spits out a plan detailing which trucks go to which factory, how much gas to make at which plant, which customers get served first etc. It's saved them millions of dollars.