Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Rhode Island Air Show

What is it with Air Shows that fascinate men so much? I got the answer when visiting the Rhode Island National Guard Open House & Air Show with a few 'adik-adik' and 'anak-anak' on June 24th. I had never got the chance to see our own Air Show in Langkawi but was informed that the much awaited Blue Angels had once performed there.

You might have guessed, the 'Tarzan' on the left is NOT one of us! he..he.. He was seen looking around for his Jane..
The Blue Angels were of course, scheduled to be the grand finale of the Air Show. Almost 2 hours behind time , - ironically these people here are not particularly time conscious as they are thought to be! - the world's renowned pilots captivated many, with their speed and precise manouvres. However, the blistering heat of summer and the immense noise proved too much for us and even for the Mat Sallehs. Many were seen leaving, - including us, to catch the free bus ride to the parking field before the crowd - minutes before the air show was even over!. Nevertheless, I couldn't help noticing how well logistics and facilities were handled during the event. Although parking space was like '5 miles' away, visitors were transported quickly on 'old' but well maintained army buses. The waiting time passed unnoticed! Potties to relief oneself were plenty and easily accessible. Security upon entering was well understood by all. Ear plugs were given free to everyone. And.. the event was held at No Charge! On top of it all, a supply of clean, cool drinking water for everyone's taking. How do they do that!? (I see 'budding entrepreneurs' selling mineral water for double or triple its price at these sort of events back home!)
Could that be one of the aircrafts used to transport soldiers to Iraq? Shocked

Thank you to Captain(?) Hatim and family for their kind hospitality. Food was ready for us to dig-in when we returned from the air show. Smile

The shores of the Atlantic Ocean at Rhode Island's beach...

Monday, June 18, 2007

HAHVAHD Unofficial Tour

On Tuesday June 12th, my children and I with Mega and her mother, took the unofficial tour of Harvard; which was organised by Unofficial Tours - a recently Harvard approved, Student-Run, Student-Owned company. Go to their website at http://www.harv.unofficialtours.com/ and take a look at how the company was started; the beautiful pictures in their on-line brochure and the graphical image map of Harvard Square will give some idea of the route taken during the one and half hour experience. The tour time sounds long - especially on foot! - but the Dual Tour Guide System managed to satisfactorily highlight Harvard hot-spots through their in-depth knowledge, exciting history, side-splitting jokes, and exclusive accounts of student life; making the unforgettable journey oblivious to passing time. Without even using hailers our Tour Guides captured all of their 'followers' attention with fluid flowing 'scripts' on Harvard's (pronounced as HAHVAHD) lingo & terminology, Harvard's buildings & architecture, Harvard's known rivalry with the City of Cambridge and last but not least Harvard's Student Admission and their life in the historic campus. To get enrolled in Harvard is of course not easy; one must be either a top A student, or obtained incredibly high SAT scores, or musically inclined, or.. having very rich parents with none of the above! (The picture on top right with the Memorial Hall behind us was taken by Tom - the bigger size Guide, from a secret vantage point buried deep in Harvard Yard!). The tour starts immediately outside of main Harvard MBTA station, by the Cambridge Info Kiosk in the middle of Harvard Square, and ends in front of the gate along Massachusetts Avenue. As a note: the Tour Guides do not have regular income from the company - I guess because it's 'Unofficial' - so, they get paid through the visitors sincere contributions ( an amount mentioned as an equivalent to a movie show with popcorn ) at the end of the tour. So, if ever you're in Boston, don't miss strolling through Harvard Square & experience the Unofficial Tour of Harvard - which is said to be by far better than the officially run tours!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Salam Pantun - Tunggu Padi Jemoq

I am very honored to have received an autographed copy of Siri Pantun Nusantara, TUNGGU PADI JEMOQ - Serangkaian Pantun Kedah from the Editor of the book himself; none other than Professor Muhammad Haji Salleh - Sasterawan Negara Malaysia. He is currently here, being invited by Harvard to work on a project. I am glad we got to know Prof & family and it seems like we've known them for ages. Juita, Kasthuri & Mega's well mannered ways just captured my heart, despite briefly meeting them, when they were here visiting their parents. If you want to know, there is a whole website dedicated to Prof Muhammad at http://www.geocities.com/ayahanda_m/ . There we can find a wide ranging field of his involvements, his literary contributions and achievements. I am amazed at the number of awards & prizes he had obtained over the years. Well, I KNow he's one of our Sasterawan Negara ( National Laureate ), but reading through them increased my respect for him even more. Such an unassuming, softspoken person and a loving father as well.
Would like to share beberapa rangkap pantun from the above mentioned book Tunggu Padi Jemoq - Serangkaian Pantun Kedah which was compiled by En Ramli M.I ..........

Sekalung Budi

1. Anak didek di ataih papan,
Padi tumpah di bawah tangga;
Anak adik abang dok pesan,
Buat baek oghang pun suka.

2. Anak itek terlentek-lentek,
Anak angsa terenang-renang;
Buat baek tak boleh baek,
Saja bangsa tak mengenang.

3. Ayam hutan terbang ke hutan,
Mati tersangkut kerana duri;
Adik bukan abang pun bukan,
Mati tersangkut kerana budi.

4. Dalam guni ada padi,
Nama padi, padi pulot;
Baek hati baek budi,
Dia mati oghang sebut.

5. Pokok mengkudu di kaki bukit,
Banyak rumpot darilah dia;
Hidup besatu budi yang baek,
Sama-sama menimbang rasa.

6. Tenang-tenang ayaq di laot,
Sampan kolek mudek ke Tanjong;
Hati terkenang mulot tersebut,
Budi yang baek rasa nak junjong.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Malaysia's PM & New First Lady

At last, after 2 years of being a very eligible 'bachelor', Malaysia's Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi fondly known as Pak Lah re-married recently to Jeanne Abdullah. His first wife, Datin Seri Endon passed away due to breast cancer and is rumored that she entrusted Jeanne Abdullah, her ex-sister-in-law to look into his well-being. See how happy he looks!
Circle Of Hearts
All other hopefuls out there..eat your heart out!

Thought of sharing his family portrait..

Monday, June 11, 2007

The First Masjid in Boston...

Last Saturday June 9th, we went to the first ever 'big' Masjid to be built in Boston! It is located on Malcolm X Avenue, Roxbury - tempat yang mostly inhabited by ramai African-Americans di Boston! I heard (if it's true..), Governor Deval Patrick wants improvement to that area & he believes it can also be done through Islam. Of course the building of the masjid is not without problems, issues, hindrances & slanders from the enemies of Islam - I believe it took 7 years to get this masjid approved and be erected, and even now it's not completely built yet! Construction is halted due to insufficient funds - the contractor needs an additional of US500k just to continue on with the development. It seems that the committee had to resort to internal/private contributions ( which is kind of slow ) as funds from outside is stopped and cannot be channeled in. Too many negative speculations! Anyway, everyone was there for the placement of the minaret and for the first athan to be heard. Can you imagine the athan 'berkumandang' di udara mat salleh!? You have to be here to experience the feeling.. perasaan macam kat Mekah pulak! Syahduuuu... We were told that the minaret could not have been built, if not for an old lady who 'sedeqah' all of her inheritance & belongings - may Allah shower her with all of his blessings. There were quite a few 'sobs' and 'sniffles' I heard coming from those around me (including yours truly!), amidst the 'ameens' during the do'a done by the Imam. Well, it was in English and everyone understood the message. Actually, there were also talks of 'trouble' likely to happen, instigated by people who tak suka tengok orang Islam hidup senang! We were a bit apprehensive at first of going, especially my husband, who doesn't want us to be caught up in any conflicts - but, upon seeing throngs of Muslims coming from all walks of life, berbagai bentuk dan rupa..the young and the old, with children & babies...walking like one mile away towards the masjid...we were pulled along! Tak ku sangka macam Hari Raya pulak! Fortunately nothing major occured..except for the incident when the tow truck wanting to pull our car away for having the boot a few inches beyond the 'yellow line'!. Alhamdulillah, if not for a few 'brothers' who not knowing the owner of the targeted car, quickly donated US5 each to make up for the 50 dollars requested by the tow-ers, our car would have been compounded. Now that would be another story to tell! They turned down my husband's request to re-pay them and gladly, I witnessed one of the teachings of Islam being practiced here. We are gratified by their sincerity and willingness to help - semoga Allah kurnia lebih banyak rezeki kepada mereka!

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Don't Ever.......Stop Being You!

A new blogger friend of mine, Lindaj , sent me this message today..Of course hers was more interesting and eye catching - full of animation & background music. Anyway, thought the words are worth sharing..

Don't ever be reluctant to show your feelings when you're happy, give in to it.
When you're not, live with it.
Don't ever be afraid to try to make things better, you might be surprised at the results.
Don't ever take the weight of the world on your shoulders.
Don't ever feel threatened by the future, take life one day at a time.
Don't ever feel guilty about the past, what's done is done.
Don't stop learning from any mistakes you might have made.
Don't ever feel that you're alone, there is always somebody there for you to reach out.
Don't ever forget that you can achieve so many of the things you can imagine..
Its not as hard as it seems.
Don't ever stop loving, don't ever stop believing, don't ever stop dreaming your dreams.

Monday, June 4, 2007

'Aqiqah' for little Hazeem...

Crawling Baby Last weekend we were invited to attend a small Aqiqah feast for 3 months old Hazeem (hope the spelling's right) in Dracut, MA. The invitation came through a Muslim sister who knows Hazeem's Grandma & family very well. Not knowing Hazeem's family, we were a bit apprehensive at first to accept the invitation, but I guess 'ora ng Melayu memang kaya dengan budi bahasa' so we felt at home in no time at all. Hazeem's father is El Salvadore-American and Hazeem got best features from both his mom and dad. So cute! Comel sangat! The nasi minyak & roasted lamb cooked by Hazeem's mom, Yohanna was delicious. After Maghrib we did some form of Marhabban & it was kind of funny to hear the different international versions..The Malaysian version, the Moroccan version, the Indian & Pakistani versions. Even the do'a was done in 3 languages - Malay, Arabic & English. Whatever it is, what matters most was the meaning - for Hazeem to be a good person, good to his parents & good to his creator; to have all the blessings from Allah. We had a nice time & didn't realise that it was almost midnight when we left - much to Atiqah's dismay who had a test the next day!
A bit on Aqiqah which I picked out from the net.
The Laws of Aqiqah
The performance of aqiqah is sunnah muakkkadah ( highly encouraged ).It is to be performed by the parents or the guardians of the child.
Prophet Muhammad and his companions used to perform aqiqah when they were bestowed with a new born.

To offer the aqiqah or sacrifice for a newborn child is the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W). An aqiqah involves the sacrifice of two animals for a boy and one for a girl, with a portion of the meat to be distributed to the poor and needy. An aqiqah can be offered at any point after a child's birth, but it is recommended to perform it within the first week (and ideally on the seventh day). In addition, it is the recommended Sunnah for parents to give sadaqah of equal value to the weight in silver of their baby's hair (when it is shaved on the seventh day after birth).

The purpose of Aqiqah
There are many benefits in the performance of aqiqah and some of them are :
1. Announcing the blessing of Allah with the birth of a baby.
Being bestowed a baby is a great blessing from God.It is only with God's grace that a couple could enjoy the joy of receiving a baby. Thus to show gratitude and joy to God for this gift,blessing and great occasion, an animal is slaughtered and the meat shared amongst friends and relatives.
2. Making known the baby's genealogy and his family.
Aqiqah is also an occasion to pronounce the birth that has taken place in a family.This is to inform friends and relatives about the new member in the family and to avoid misunderstanding or gossips that could arise from that birth.It is also to confirm the baby's rights to the family's wealth and name.
3. Promoting acts of benevolent and promoting kinship and friendship by giving meat to family, friends and neighbours.

Gathering families and friends on this joyous occasion would promote better relation, understandings and love.Even the poor is not left out from this festivities as they are also entitled to the food and meat served on this occasion.