Saturday, September 16, 2006

On The Move

These past weeks we have been on the move. At the end of August we were in JB for a couple of days. Then Shaffik bought us air tickets to go to Bintulu. The little kids were as usual excited that we were coming. We were in Bintulu for about a week. Two days ago we went down to JB again. And on Monday we will be leaving for a trip to Egypt followed by Medina and Mecca.

Ever since we retired from active employment, Ram and I have been attending religious classes at various places and have recently concentrated our attention to attending classes conducted at a ‘Madrasah’ in a religious complex by an Imam and Guru that I am very familiar with. This complex is known as Yayasan Al Jenderami (, but the website is at the moment presented in the Malay language only). The Yayasan is a self sufficient non-governmental entity that promotes the propagation and the teaching of Islam following the Sunnah Wal-Jumaah principles. There is a main mosque, classrooms, accommodations for orphans, private accommodation for single elderly ladies, and there are 52 of them, with the same number on waiting list to be accommodated as the facilities expands, (warga emas or directly translated as golden citizens) who are themselves self sufficient and who devote time for enriching their religious knowledge and practices. It is the teaching based on the principles of Sunnah Wal-Jumaah following religious books of old that attracts both Ram and I to the place.

The Yayasan also operates a number of economic activities such as catering services, a cooperative store and mini market, a bakery, animal rearing currently concentrating on sheep rearing, tour and travel agency services and others.

The Travel agency concentrates primarily on Islamic tours and the next one they have arranged is a visit to Egypt, Medina and Mecca for the ‘umrah’ during the fasting month. The main attraction in the tour of Egypt is the visit to Mount Tursina or Jebel Musa in Sinai, apart from visits to other historical sites and the graves of past Islamic leaders and companions of Prophet Muhammad pbuh. Ram and I decided to join this tour and have psyched ourselves to the climb of Jebel Musa.

I read in the internet and the write-ups of members of virtual tourists that the climb or trek onto Jebel Musa will take approximately seven hours round trip and most who have visited and climbed the mountain gave positive recommendations. Now we are really looking forward to the visit. We have been preparing ourselves by going for daily walks, exercises and even went jungle trekking when in Bintulu recently. After Egypt we will go to Medina and then to Mecca for umrah. The month of Ramadhan will start when we are in Medina. Spending Ramadhan in Medina and Mecca will be an interesting experience. We have done this several times and have had wonderful experiences then and look forward to this next visit. I submit to the Almighty for HIS grace to give Ram and I and also the others in our group the strength, commitment and good health to perform the obligatory prayers and that the visit as a whole will progress in ease for all of us.

We will be gone for approximately three weeks. More of the visit later…….

MKI Ramblings Unlimited
Petaling Jaya

Friday, September 08, 2006

Camaraderie and Solidarity

I was in a very long queue at a traffic light junction. The lights changed several times before I could get through. While waiting I observed a group of physically challenged individuals, two of them on wheel chairs wheeling along on their own unaided, three others using crutches and a couple more walking unaided but obviously physically challenged themselves. They were casually moving along the pedestrian curb on the other side of the road and in the same direction as I was, hence I could observe them moving along while I was moving and waiting for the lights to change.

The curb that they were moving on was not quite wheelchair friendly, or was not properly maintained, or both!! One front wheel of a wheelchair became stuck onto something, perhaps a depression, a gap, or a break on the curb. I could see that guy struggling to free his wheelchair. The others had moved forward not realizing that he was stuck. One of them turn around and saw his friend needed help. All of them, except for the guy on the other wheelchair, turned around and hurriedly tried to help their friend. It was at this time that I observed all of them being truly physically challenged as their hurried movement revealed their physical conditions. They managed to free the wheelchair and they clapped their hands in unison, pleased that they have helped their friend, while the guy on the wheelchair clapped, said something and nodded to all his friends. One of them was looking at my direction. I clapped my hands too and he acknowledged me with a huge smile, a nod and a wave of his hands.

This incident brought memories swarming in my mind. Not too long ago I posted something I received from a friend. It was a race of physically challenged children. During the race one child fell and cried. All the others, including the one who was leading stopped, turn around and help the friend up, consoled him and then all ran together to the finish line. The claps by the audience were the loudest then.

Yet another memory I recall was an incident many years ago. I was still a student in college. I had stopped for a meal at a food stall. I observed a one legged beggar going around from table to table. Some waved him away, some politely some roughly and others dropped something into his tin-can. Suddenly I realized that the beggar had fallen down onto the floor and on his back, a couple of tables away from me. How he fell I did not see. Perhaps on his own or perhaps shoved by an irate someone!! I saw that he was struggling to get up. Not a single soul got up to help!! I immediately went to him, held both his hands and pulled him up, wedging my leg onto his only leg. I helped picked up his things, coins and all and handed to him. He said thank you in a most humble manner and I saw the melancholic look in his eyes. A look of agony and despair!! I even saw the look on the other diners, as though saying to me why waste your time and energy and bother with him. Ohhh my!! That was like some 40 years ago and I can still remember the incident very well…. things will be different now?….. or would they? Nahhhhhhh…. I do not think so…. its none of my business attitude that prevails always….. huh!!!

MKI Ramblings Unlimited
Petaling Jaya