Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Amman

"Amman nak kawan dengan big girl je, tak nak kawan dengan little girl."


Kenapa nak kawan dengan big girl je?


"Sebab big girl ada tetek."


Meet Amman, my nephew.

 
posted by Izham Ismail at 5:40 pm | Permalink | 18 comments
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Of Free Speech and Responsible Conduct
I met Ku Ali in Mecca while doing my umrah. It was in a hot summer night that we took a stroll around the holy city, admired the eminence the city had, and talked in a language only the two of us could decipher.

He bought me falafel and left before I could thank him.

*

It seems in Malaysia there now exist groups that refuse to make our country work. Failing to realize the unique social and cultural framework that we have, either through sheer stupidity or a much sinister agenda, they continually harp on issues that they know to be sensitive and delicate, in the name of that oh-so-familiar slogan of free speech. Regretfully, these exact same groups often forget about the importance of ‘responsible conduct’ when they embrace that convenient slogan. I am all for free speech, don’t get me wrong. But I am also totally against stupidity and irresponsibility.

The controversial “Allah” issue should not be an issue in the first place, if those involved could be wise enough to put national harmony before any other goals. I am not a theology scholar, so I would not attempt to address this issue from that angle. Furthermore, I see the unrestrained and zealous comments of those without knowledge and expertise, on everything under the sun, to be the main cause of the bulk of the problems we have today.

Allah is an Arabic word that had been used in the Malay world since the coming of Islam to this region. Historical chronology suggests that Muslim traders, whom arrived earlier compared to Christian missionaries, were those responsible for the introduction. The study of linguistics and semantics will tell us that words are “sounds” that we give meaning to. The process in which a word acquires its meaning and significance is a complex and interesting study of human consciousness. We will not go deep into the technicalities of these processes, but suffice to say that local culture, usage and convention play a major role in assessing the significance and concept that a word embodies.

It is true that in the Arab world “Allah” is the common term for god. However, in our country, through many centuries of usage and adaptation, that same term had gained a more specific meaning with Islamic connotation. It had become a proper noun (this is why “Allah” is always written with a capital A), and as all those who had paid attention in grammar class would know, proper nouns always refer to something specific. The Malay language provides more common terms to refer to god(s) of other faiths, examples being ‘tuhan,’ ‘dewa’ and ‘dewi.’ These terms can be variously used as a common or proper noun, depending on context.

The arguments that suggests “Allah” should be used by faiths other than Islam, just because the Arabs and Indonesian Christians are using it, from a linguist’s view, is redundant, and from a nationalist’s view, preposterous. Context differs with locality, and evidently our situation and context is different from those countries. One thing that we can’t get our head around is why should we follow Indonesia’s lead? Had this country proven to be a better model for a country, in any aspect, compared to us? Why must we, after 53 years of independence, look towards a country that had on many occasions showed hostility towards us, for a solution? What is the use of being independent if we continually admire the conventions from abroad, rather than developing and having confidence in our own system?

The usage of the term “Allah” differs between East Malaysia and the Peninsula. In the Peninsula the term embodies strong Islamic connotation. The Christians here do not and never have used the term “Allah” to refer to god. In East Malaysia, however, the native Christians do use it. My Christian friends from Sarawak told me that yes they do use the term, but they always make the distinction by using “Tuan Allah” when referring to their god. They understand the confusion that could be created by the casual use of “Allah,” and they, like the Muslim natives of East Malaysia, did not like the idea of confusion. For them, if one was to convert to any religion, one should not be confused as to which god one is submitting oneself to.

Christianity exists in various sects throughout the world. The liturgical languages used in the services differ with sect and location. The Vatican Catholics use Latin. The various Eastern Orthodoxies use Russian, Armenian, and Greek etc. The Coptic uses Arabic, while the Syriacs are probably the only church left still using the original language of Jesus, Aramaic. The plethora of languages used for services, and the lack of effort to reestablish Aramaic as the liturgical language (since it was the language spoken by Jesus himself), seems to suggest the name by whom god is called is not of central importance in Christian doctrine. If it was of grave concern, it would have been corrected a long time ago, in the various councils convened throughout Christian history. The use and adaptations of the various liturgical languages were accepted and tolerated by the original, pre-Christian practitioners of those languages. We assume that none of these communities opposed the absorption of their languages as a liturgical language by the Christian community. It seems to us that The Herald, through its active pursuit of this issue, is trying to break from the Christian convention, by imposing their will on the Malay language. This is despite the clear opposition and resistance of a majority of the original practitioners, the Malays. This makes us wonder the level of respect those from The Herald have with regards to the Malay community, in contrast to their predecessors who were in contact with the pre-Christian communities whose languages are now part of Christian liturgical practices. We would feel very much sad for the Christian faith, if its image of toleration and love is marred by The Herald, which seems adamant about imposing its will on a visibly reluctant community.

Maybe those from The Herald were not aware of the linguistic connotation and significance of the term “Allah,” and how it applied to the Malaysian context. We will give them the benefit of the doubt. They were testing waters unexplored. However, what we find unsettling is the zeal with which they are pursuing the issue. Muslims had clearly expressed their grievances and disagreement when this issue started, long before it spiraled into the chaos that it is now. It appears to us that those from The Herald were not wise enough to lay off the case when the ban was made by the Government. They decided that no, they had to bring it to another level. We say this action was unwise because they failed to realize the dire consequences it had on our social harmony. It doesn’t take a university education to see that tensions were brewing (then). Let us hope that this is just a case of poor judgment and lack of wisdom on the part of those from The Herald. We would be damned as a nation, if they did actually know exactly what they were doing. Stupidity can be forgiven, but malicious intent is much graver.

We Malaysians cannot begin to describe how angry we are at those responsible for the church and surau attacks. As I said earlier, I am totally against stupidity and irresponsibility. Hey morons, what did you think you were achieving by those attacks? The action was too stupid because it did not contribute to any solution. And do you honestly think that the Muslims and Christians will hail you as heroes for your cowardice? Why should they, after you smeared their image. Most Malaysians understand our faith well enough to know that it is strictly forbidden to cause damage to houses of worship. Whoever you are, we hope you will be sentenced the severest punishment. Scumbags like you are part of that group which I said refuse to make our country work. Please excuse my harsh language, but I put high emphasis on the exactness of meaning.

When Caliph Umar Al-Khattab entered Jerusalem, he was offered by the Patriarch of Jerusalem to pray inside the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. He refused, preferring to pray just outside it. Nothing in the doctrine of Islam or Christianity prevented him to pray in the church. It was only his foresight and good judgment that explained this action. He realized the implications the Christians will have if he did pray in it. He did not want future quarrels between Muslims and Christians over the significance of the church. Those with wisdom and good intent will never pursue anything just because they can. Doing things just for the sake of doing it, without much consideration for future implications is stupid, and might we say, destructive. We urge all those involved in this scandal to ponder the significance of Caliph Umar’s decision, and think about the consequences our actions today will have on the future.

I will refrain from making comments about the ruling made by Justice Lau. I will leave that task to the public. We believe that we are guaranteed the right to having our own opinion under the Constitution. We hope the next judge dealing with this case will impress us with a verdict worthy of the case. Please take into consideration the unique social and cultural framework that our country is based upon, and the consequences your judgments will have on the future of our harmony. We put our faith in the judicial system, so please do not disappoint us.

When the British granted us independence, they believed that we will become a failed nation, considering the social setting that they themselves had developed in our nation. So far we had proved them wrong. We must understand the unique and delicate situation that we are. Sensitivity and consideration must be employed in conducting ourselves. It will be such a shame if our actions today will contribute to the realization of what the British had predicted when they left us. For the sake of our nation, please ponder and think where we want our country to go from here. We decide.

Ku Ali

*

Remember the name, it's Ku Ali. In case you have forgotten already.

 
posted by Izham Ismail at 3:40 am | Permalink | 11 comments
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Playlist Di-Raja
Aku ada satu rahsia yang champion nak kongsi. Moga boleh jadi inspirasi untuk memulakan hari kau, kau dan kau.

Kalau rasa malas nak mandi pagi, aku pasang track Know Your Role sambil berjalan masuk toilet – style jalan tak payah ceritalah, ala ala People’s Champ baru lepas layan Rock Bottom kat Triple H.

Untuk effect lebih ganas dan elegan, kening diangkat sebelah – menimbulkan pertikaian, kening siapa lebih menangkap, The Rock atau Ziana Zain.

Lebih champion kalau buat depan cermin yang bersaiz super.

Lepas mandi, lagu Exists biasanya akan mengambil alih, sengaja menimbulkan effect syahdu supaya effect The Rock dapat dineutralkan. Rahsia Pohon Cemara lah biasanya.

Dan hidup bermula bila LFO rampas waktu siaran. Alexi Murdoch pun kadang-kadang bikin haru biru Playlist Di-Raja. Bertumbuk dia dengan Liam Gallagher sebab rampas mikrofon. N’Sync cool je, tak mahu kacau orang tua bergaduh.

John Lennon perhati dari jauh. Paul, Ringo dengan George stand-by kat belakang dia, macam cerita Pendekar Bujang Lapok.

Masa tu aku cakap, hilang punca semua lari bertempiaran. Akon yang gangster pun goyang. Eminem lagi lah, sekali John petik terus demam.

Bila John dengan kawan-kawan tidur, Adam Levine rampas mikrofon. Lepas puas buat suara charming, Jason Mraz dengan Gavin DeGraw pula test market. Line-line ini memang gentleman, sebab lepas perform stage mesti kekal in order.

Tapi kalau Axl Rose dengan James Hetfield pegang mikrofon, siap lah aku nak mengemas stage. Si Mark pun sama, lagi lagi kalau Tom dengan Travis dah start buka baju.

Awie, Amy dengan Aris Ariwatan pun kadang-kadang try nak buat samseng, tapi selalu dia orang kemas balik stage. Sebab air mata penuh siapa nak lap. Aku kesian tengok line-line ini, struggle gila nak masuk playlist orang lain - tak market dan tak fashionable katanya. Menangis-nangis line-line ini merayu kat aku nak feature dalam Playlist Di-Raja.


Kesian dia orang jadi mangsa seni subjektif.

Tapi ada satu time Duta ikut Ahmad Dhani datang. Pasha dengan Ariel senyap-senyap ikut dari belakang. Dia orang ini memang steady, sampai Freddie Fernandez kucar kacir cari alasan kenapa dia orang tak boleh datang dah.

Dalam Playlist Di-Raja, orang jual Char Koay Teow pun boleh feature, asalkan suara boleh challenge Ebiet G. Ade. Nak diskriminasi pergi Palestine. Alah kat sini pun boleh, pandai-pandai lah cari port.

Dan baru tadi Pasha dah check in secara rasmi, bawa sekali dua tiga track. Tapi ada satu yang aku ingat, Kekasih Gelapku. Tercipta Untukku pun boleh tahan dia punya naik.

Pergh itu time, aku sure sudah tarik selimut.

Agak-agak mata aku pun dah nak padam, aku suruh dia orang semua balik. Boleh tengok dia orang tarik muka kat aku macam mana. Macam budak budak.

Basuh kaki, clear tekak, gosok mata, tarik selimut – lepas tu layan doa sebelum tidur. Tiga kul menyusul kalau sempat, mana lah tahu, esok dah tak tengok dunia.

Tidur.

Esok The Rock nak bangun sebab ada benda lagi tak settle dengan Triple H. Nasib baik dia ada Playlist Di-Raja, supaya The Rock lupa nak tarik muka dan benci membenci sesama umat.


Kadang-kadang aku try juga nak feature dalam Playlist Di-Raja, tapi skill tak cukup Satriani dan suara tak cukup Freddie lah. Roslan Aziz sure rasa nak tepuk je belakang aku sekali aku petik. Paula Abdul pun agak-agak boleh hilang sabar dengar aku cuba jadi V.E.

Petik pun sekadar tak nak bagi berhabuk. Tak apa, sedap telinga aku, sedap lah Playlist Di-Raja.

Playlist Di-Raja ada dimana mana, mungkin belakang window IE komputer kau ini pun ada. Cuba tekan minimize tengok, sebab kalau tekan close macam mana kau nak baca blog orang lain pula kan.

Tapi ego aku mengatakan Playlist Di-Raja aku yang paling champion. Habis emosi aku kena main dengan Playlist Di-Raja. Okaylah, at least Playlist Di-Raja sudi nak mainkan emosi aku.

You define your own Playlist Di-Raja. Jangan tarik muka kalau Raihan tiba-tiba buat comeback dalam Playlist Di-Raja aku.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Seni itu subjektif.

Aku ada satu rahsia yang champion nak kongsi. Moga boleh jadi inspirasi untuk memulakan hari kau, kau dan kau.

*

P.S. Aku copy paste post lama. Licik tak?

 
posted by Izham Ismail at 11:59 am | Permalink | 2 comments
Saturday, January 16, 2010
Peraduan Teka Dialog
Siapa salah bayar.
 
posted by Izham Ismail at 6:19 am | Permalink | 5 comments
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Lembah Klang Derby
I saw the most beautiful girl I've seen in years. She was eating at Williams near Kelana Jaya LRT station yesterday. I am not going to reveal any of her likeness in my imagination, but what I can tell is, no I am not going to tell you anything.


*

Selangor hosted cross-city rival Kuala Lumpur in their second Super League match at Stadium Shah Alam. Last outing in Seremban was a successful yet a nervous one for the Red Giants and looking at how lucky they were, they need to remodel their gameplay against Kuala Lumpur if they wanted to be a serious title contender this season.


A friend tried to pick a bone and questioned my place of birth with the team I support, especially in the run to last night's match.


I was born and raised up in Kuala Lumpur, and if anything has to go by the place you grew up, I might have to root for Kuala Lumpur football team. But I grew up supporting Selangor, and started giving my soul and watching Selangor's matches when I was 8, so the love was a natural thing.


My friend is a Malaysian of course, born in Johor and grew up in Kuala Lumpur. He took a safe way and decided not to support any Malaysian team. But he lost the bet when I figured out that he is an Arsenal fan although I tried to be positive that he might have actually born in London but the family migrated back to Malaysia just before he could learn some English.


I was particularly disappointed with Safiq Rahim after his recent poor performances, primarily in Malaysia-Syria friendly international, and looking at the credential he garnered last year when playing with KL-PLUS, I felt he needed more than a reason not to emulate the fantastic one year stint he had.


*


Federal Highway is a bitch on weekday evenings, as citizens commute from agora back to home. I had to pick four friends up and if I've known how bad the traffic could get, I'd go out earlier.


As a result, I missed few minutes of the first half and did not get to witness the goal KL scored. I was still driving when a friend texted the goal - which he described as a tactical, set-piece blunder.


It was like something was chasing me from behind. Something very big and ferocious and for some reason the colour was black with long hair and red eyes. I picked up the speed and made it just before Safee Sali equalised.


*


I was shocked to see Amri Yahyah playing as a pairing striker again with Safee Sali, but I guess when you are playing a team like Kuala Lumpur, you can be a little bit flexible. Liew Kit Kong was again upsetting, and substitute Amirul Hadi Zainal made me lose a bet I made with my friend.


Not playing his best game, Amirul Hadi lost it and he needs to bounce back more than he did on the training ground to regain his statue in the first eleven. I don't call him Malaysia's Yossi Benayoun for nothing.


But every Selangor fan was a winner when Safiq Rahim rose to the occasion and produced brilliance from the centre half to create chances after chances, and one of it met Amri Yahyah at one end, and the captain brilliantly chipped the ball to take Selangor on the lead.


Selangor played simple football all the match around, and skeptics from previous match against Negri Sembilan were shove off to the margins. Superior possession is a key for any football match and last night, Selangor stood taller in that area.


Selangor have to benefit from on-fire R. Surendran in the next matches, with the striker again showed his finishing wizardry with two both brilliant goals in the second half. It was certainly a joy to watch how Selangor incorporated the home game advantage with composed possession, and churning opportunities at will and turning most of them into goals.


I guess this season will be yet another season of silverware for Selangor.


But of course, they have to look for that team from the north.


*


I have written in a post on how special the year 1996 was for me as a young Selangor fan, and if I had a time machine, I would take myself to that moment I went to see Selangor played Sabah in the final.


But since time traveling has remained an unsolved problems in physics for centuries now, I settled for the DVD of the game someone recorded. Deja vu and I stayed up late watching it and was even trying to look up for myself in the crowd.


It cost me RM10 to get the DVD, and the same feeling Azman Adnan and Mehmet Durakovic gave to me when they had the ball on their feet was priceless.


*

And it turned out the girl I eyed was not alone. She was with a guy. A guy who wears Armani and drives a Golf GTi, and most importantly, the guy who never checked his wallet before ordering.


Maybe that's the price I have to pay for being a 'Mat Stadium', gua boleh tengok je! Ha ha.

 
posted by Izham Ismail at 11:34 pm | Permalink | 6 comments
Monday, January 11, 2010
Dear Nigella Ashworth

Look at you. Just look in the mirror. Just, just, just look at yourself.


How can you say you are strong when no one has ever punched you in the face?


How can you say you can jump a wall when you haven't been to one?


How can you say you know it all when you never read a line?


How can you say you know how to win a battle when you haven't fought a single soul?


How can you say you know how to love someone when all you want is just to be loved?


Look at you.


You want me to look at you.


But you haven't been looking at yourself long enough.


That's why.

 
posted by Izham Ismail at 2:04 am | Permalink | 3 comments
Sunday, January 10, 2010
Hoi Paroi!

Driving to Paroi as a Selangor fan was easier with a car with registration plate beginning with N. It naturally avoided any sort of fanatical trigger, especially when looking for space to park near Stadium Tuanku Abdul Rahman.

The stadium reminded me of Craven Cottage, erected not exactly in the hearts of the city but in the middle of a housing area. I settled the car in front of a house, at a walking distance to the stadium, and minus my Selangor jersey, I looked like a visiting relative.

*

Not the best performance from Red Giants, especially with K. Devan's first half experiment to pair Amri Yahyah, the midfielder, with Safee Sali up front. The gamble did not work, and looking at his range of passes, Hardi Jaafar's vision was short sighted. The experienced Liew Kit Kong was too fancy in the middle, but his energy defied his age.

The worst came from the back four, and Khairul Anuar Baharom failed to organise the defence as tightly as he did before, but however cut off few deadly passes from Negri destructive forces.

Selangor were out of possession throughout the game. Negri's dynamic duo Rezal Zambry and Idris Karim calmly roamed the centre half and were brilliant suppliers to Zaquan Adha to benefit.

But I don't know why, and I hope it did not involve Ayu Raudhah, but Zaquan Adha's performance did not match his regard as nation's number one.

Maybe K. Devan spotted few holes that he changed the dynamic in the second half, bringing on R. Surendran and played Amri Yahyah back in midfield. Amirul Hadi Zainal was also brought in to fill the space Hardi Jaafar hugely left.

Looking at how bad Selangor played and the unfavourable score board in the first half, I thought the journey to Paroi would end in the blues.

But Selangor is still the Selangor I knew. With few brilliant tactical changes, a bit of luck and the belief of its fans, Red Giants scored twice in 7 minutes, enough to check the first silverware of the season.

It is going to be a long season for Selangor with 60 matches and 5 cups to die for, amounts more than any Super League teams this year. But that is what champions do, we fight the battle worth fighthing, and with the kind of support I saw in Paroi last night, I fail to see why not.

*

The crowd was a strong 30,000 people. Even when playing home, Negri fans were no match to the tradition and colour Selangor fans brought with them to Paroi. Selangor fans sang almost every time, and the intertwined mandatory cheer-jeer easily out-do Negri fans, who relied on their 'Hobin Jang Hobin' chant everytime to flare the atmosphere up when their team were attacking.

Kedah and Kelantan fans are more of Selangor's material to fight, and I can't wait for such intensity to come.

But their presence and love for their local team was something commendable and deserved a mention, although I don't know what happened before the team won the Malaysian Cup after so many years.

*

A nearer exit to take to get to Paroi is Senawang and it will cost you RM8.20 if you're driving from KL. There is a nice Tom Yam restaurant (a habitual Malaysian restaurateur misnomer - Tom Yam is a dish, not a cuisine) on your right after the exit.

I was surprised to know that there is actually a Taman Rashidah Utama and it is located in Seremban. The car was full with karaoke bums and looking at the sign was like paedophiles waking up in a kindergarten.

My dad is from Kuala Pilah, and going to Negri Sembilan using his car and as a Selangor fan guilted me.

The night continued and ended at Downtown Cheras with teh o ais (iced tea), a plate of nasi goreng with telur mata kerbau (fried rice and eggs, sunny side up) and a sweet three point in the pocket.

Excellent, excellent curtain raiser.
 
posted by Izham Ismail at 4:10 pm | Permalink | 3 comments
Saturday, January 09, 2010
Roadblock
It is during these hard days you know the people you'd take with you later. Thanks guys, you know who you are.
 
posted by Izham Ismail at 12:42 pm | Permalink | 1 comments
Friday, January 08, 2010
Jesse Bear, What Will You Wear?

Four churches were attacked in one day and a potential chaotic days ahead is expected. Tony Fernandes is lining up a bid to buy West Ham United.


That was a picture of me and Ayie, taken last year when we watched Malaysia played Manchester United. Church reminds me of Ayie, I just don't know why. He is in the UK now, probably somewhere near St Paul's Cathedral. Ha ha have fun there man!


I finally bought Zaid Ibrahim's 'I, Too, Am Malay' and my room just got its white-collar look with a new printer, now sitting under the light of my age-old table lamp. Old and new combination, the kind of mixture that gave Italy a world cup.


I've settled for a cheaper notebook over a Moleskine and learnt that movie editors are neglected heroes.


Malaysian Super League is kicking off tomorrow and a while after a Facebook status is posted, my car is now ready for Seremban.


It's my fourth time in KLIA in a space of a year. Last few days, it was to send off a certain Haziq Izzat who is now in the freezing East Midlands.


Rafa is now after Marouane Chamakh and Maxi Rodriguez and still not ruling out the possible Nistelrooy-van der Vaart switch to Anfield. It is still good news, although they were all to be loaned in, to the expense of Ryan Babel, Andriy Voronin and Andrea Dossena who are going to God-knows-where-and-I-don't-care.


I play football every evening now at the same place I used to play every day 8 years ago. There are so many familiar faces who still give me the same benevolence, and the way they greeted and passed the ball to me make me feel like home again.


The journey within the city is as interesting as the destination. That is why sometimes I don't mind driving in heavy traffic. It gives me time to be with myself, who I was when I left the city and who I want to be now that I am back.


It is full of stories in the city, and wanting to be part of it is a natural thing for me.


Take care all and goodbye now.

 
posted by Izham Ismail at 5:01 pm | Permalink | 2 comments
Sunday, January 03, 2010
Night Train

Some people I know are a funny lot. They make me laugh easily without having to try much.


Like some of them who think they have succeeded to lie to me, and another who makes up my life story without having to spend their time with me.


Knowing people is a privilege, but some of them just take relationship for granted.


Relationship is not a game you can afford to lose today and work harder to win tomorrow. My mum didn't let me go when I was a little boy and pick me up when I am no longer a worry to shoulder. She works to grow me up everyday because everyday is a battle she needs to win.


I am not perfect, so saying bad things about me doesn't give much space for anyone to give it a doubt. I know myself very well to say that negativity is an easy association with me, so I don't really mind when people starts to rough a hideous picture out of my life.


But some other people just let me go because of the weight I carry, and they leave marks on my face for other people to see, and yet still expecting the privilege from me.


It can tick some people off, including myself. And I could brush off the stain, hold the knuckle and stand up to fight.


But It is good news for them because I don't fight pointless battles. So I would laugh at myself, and move on, because if it is that easy to draw a bad picture of myself, then I have only myself to blame for not looking good.

 
posted by Izham Ismail at 8:31 pm | Permalink | 4 comments