Sunday, April 29, 2007

A Short Facilitating Stint

It was Sunday 15th April, the day after the grand finale of the Ijtimak Ulama at Madrasah Islamiah, AlJenderami, where I was directly involved in managing part of the activities for the function. I was booked on a 7.15 am. flight to Kuala Terengganu that Sunday morning. The function on the night before, at AlJenderami, ended just after midnight. It was 2.30 am by the time I reached home. I had barely two hours sleep before catching the flight.

Five days earlier I received a call from my former staff and colleague at my former place of work in Kuala Terengganu, the outfit where I retired from. He enquired whether I could assist them in facilitating a programme for new executives in the company and that the same programme will be run at regular intervals throughout the year. I was certainly delighted to assist. I have the time, the energy I think!! and the knowledge and experience to impart so, why not I thought, and there it was, due to the short notice, I had to juggle the times for this first facilitating stint against the voluntary work at the Madrasah.

I woke up at 4.30 am, a little groggy and de-energised? Perhaps that was what it was as I felt uncomfortable. But then I had promised to be in Kuala Terengganu and was not about to break my promise. I slept in the cab and also in the plane and arrived at the hotel where the programme was held in time to join the guys for breakfast.

Facilitating the programme was not much of a hassle but the two days of standing took its toll, ha ha!! I am not that young anymore. I need to sit more and I must remember to sit more during the future programme. I can still feel the strain on my right leg (the hamstring?) and have difficulties bending my right leg especially when sitting during prayers, and it is now almost two weeks since the programme!! A clear sign of age catching up with me heh heh!

It was fun facilitating the programme and interacting with the young executives. They were very active, energetic and participated with enthusiasm. Project work assigned to them were carried out with gusto and it was a pleasure to see them so interested. They are the future leaders of the company and they have a good start. Lets hope their enthusiasm last throughout their career.

I look forward to facilitating the next batch and hope my leg will be much better by then. I am walking around with a walking stick for the time being, for added support and walking in confidence!! ……. and I hope I will not need the walking stick for too long.

MKI Ramblings Unl;imited,
Petaling Jaya

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Blog Update - long overdue

It has been too long……. I have had many things to do and have not been able to update the blog for a long while. Ram and I had also been a little under the weather such that we had to rest whenever we get the opportunity. I have had cough, dry and deep in the throat, for about ten weeks now and flu had come and go several times. So also Ram. Sometimes we cough in unison as though it’s orchestrated, ha ha! We are still coughing now, despite all the medicines taken, the antibiotics, expectorant and what have you. We even try traditional and herbal concoctions for cough to no avail. We are getting much better though and coughing less frequently and with less intensity. We are not sure which medicine did the work or whether it was just a natural cycle for the cough to come and go but we are thankful that it is getting much less a bother. We get good, stretched sleep, at night compared to the nights when we were up every now and then due to the coughs.

Starting from early March I had been involved in getting ready for a gathering of Ulama’s or religious leaders, at the Madrasah or religious school where I regularly attend religious classes. The function was held for three days and nights 12th to 15th April 2007. There were altogether more than 60 Ulama’s from the region, i.e. Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, Singapore, Brunei, Kampuchea, and also from Egypt and Lebanon. It was quite a job getting the preparations in place, the transportation required, the accommodation, food, receptions and all things necessary to make our guests as comfortable as possible during their stay. We also had to accommodate the expected attendance of local visitors and guests during the three days. Various papers were presented during the day and at night paryers were held interspersed with maulid for the Prophet to celebrate his birth as this month of RabiulAwal is the month when the Prophet pbh was born (although, as I understand it, it is not necessary to wait for this month to hold maulid since it can be held any time during the year). Other than that various ratibs were also held where we glorify the Almighty.

Various committees were formed to look into the details of the preparations and I was in the guest reception committee and also the F&B committee. Four meals were to be served daily for the main guests, ie the Ulamas and the religious leaders. Meetings were held almost twice weekly and preparations became intense in the beginning of April. That was the time when my cough started to increase in intensity as well. Anyway I survived, after taking all sorts of medicines and concoctions!!, and by the time the event started I was much better and could performed what was required and necessary of me for the function. I got the opportunity to meet up with most of the Ulama’s and it was most satisfying.

The opening ceremony for the event was held in the morning of 12th April by the honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dato Sri Syed Hamid Albar. There were several thousand people attending the ceremony and there were more visitors daily culminating in the grand finale in the evening of the 14th. where there were more than five thousand people in attendance. Prayers, zikrullah, ratibs and maulid were held that evening. Several of the Ulama’s delivered religious talks and tazkirah as well. Mutton briani was served for everybody at the end of the evening function.

Once the function was over, some of us in the committee sat and reflected on what took place the past few days and were satisfied that things went well without much hiccups. Some of the guests commented that we did a good job and they were treated very well. That was most satisfying and although we were tired, to know that we had satisfied our guests was most gratifying indeed. This was one voluntary work that I will gladly participate in, coughs and flu aside!! All praise to the Almighty for making the event a success and allowing me to survive despite my medical setbacks.

Now I am preparing for a thanksgiving and maulid function in my house scheduled for May 1st. I hope and pray and seek the grace of the Almighty that this time the function will go on well too.

MKI Ramblings Unlimited
Petaling Jaya