Men Who Save the World/Lelaki Harapan Dunia (2014) – ‘An unapologetically honest’ local film

By The Gorgeous Palah Chingu

My Rating : 4/5
My Rating : 4/5

        I seldom watched local films. There i said it. No offense but with a shitty content, mediocre actors and actresses, i rather shove a poison in my mouth and die than watching them. There are some of good actors and actresses in Malaysia but i felt like their potential remain hindered in local film industry. Having to play the same characters over and over again and being forced to conform on the standard of local film (which is majority of them are so sub par and repetitive story line) leaving them no choice. The situation is no different for directors and script writers as well. There are young and promising talents out there. They are trying to enter the industry with a new and fresh ideas but failed to make any mark for their careers. Some of them decided to take a path as an independent film makers. They managed to attract a small amount of crowd but that’s it. Some people recognized their films but how many? They have their own niche for their films but to put their films in big screens is risky business and many are not ready to take it. Statistically speaking, most ended up flop in cinema.

         Facing international films as a stern competition is one thing but attracting younger generations to watch a sardonic film like ‘Men who save the world’ is another thing. To begin with, it doesnt have what malaysian youths usually enjoy ; action or romance films. It doesnt even embrace what typical malaysian directors love to do which is recycling horror tales and calling it a new and upgraded horror flick ever released. This film is opposite of everything typical local films usually possessed such as a) Its not necessarily has a love theme B) It does’nt have glossy factors like a good looking actors or hot actresses C) It’s revolves around cultures, values and morality that we often forget D) It’s mocking our society’s bad habit in a sarcastic manner. Hollywood and even bollywood is way past making satire films but Malaysia is practically an infant at this. Why? Because we are too defensive about everything. We are too busy being offended for many things. If we are not busy being offended, we are demanding government to ban anything that might offend us.

Because we all know what 'kompang' is, right?
Because we all know what ‘kompang’ is, right?

               Take a chill pill, will you? Take this film as an example which is instead of focusing the content of film, they are fighting and arguing that this film is an insult to Malay’s dignity. Why? because the director is not belong to Malay Race. He is chinese and some malays cant accept that.  Seriously, How can you be stupid than you already are right now?  Many failed to highlight the intention of both writer and director in this film. ‘Muafakat’ and ‘Angkat Rumah’ culture is at the brink of extinction. Currently, Malaysian youths preferred to migrate searching for better opportunity rather than staying in a rural area. They even chose to live in the city and leaving the elders behind. They went back once or twice to visit the elders and truth be told, they forgot the culture they were raised in (including myself). The elders still practicing it but these culture will be gone with them to be honest. However, this is not the thing they are discussing once they watched the film. They kept dissing that the director is a chinese. They kept insinuating that Malays and Islam has been portrayed in a bad manner and it was unforgivable for them. They even went on asking all Malays to boycott this film. What bad manner? Which one? Shaman, ‘Bomoh’ or Tahyul belief has been long existed and deeply rooted in our culture. Sorry but not sorry, admit it that some of our relatives still go and seek their counsel. Although you yourself dont believe it anymore, people around you still do.

Bomoh, Bomoh & Bomoh
Bomoh, Bomoh & Bomoh

                Before those morons started imposing this boycott on all of us or before we blindly following their order, i urged you guys to watch the film first. Give this film the benefit of the doubt, watch it without any pre conceived notion that you have regarding this film, keep an open mind and you can see what actually the film is all about. Sometime we watched film for an entertainment, to make us laugh but sometime we watched it because it is realistic and speaks to us in a direct and sensible truth. This film is one of them. You can enjoy watching ‘Hantu Mak limah’ or ‘Polis Evo’ (no judgment here though i will not watch them) but save some time to enjoy film like this in the future. Hopefully, we can save our local film industry by showing adequate support to high quality films like this in the future.

Some scenes you shouldn’t feel offended at all even if you are malay (because obviously it was true) :

  1. Believing Shaman’s word over their own rationality.
  2. Trusting an illicit-substance addict words rather than checking the old house itself.
  3. Too quick to pass judgment before investigating it thoroughly.
  4. (There is no insult on islam or attack on islam whatsoever) The Animal slaughter in eid-ul-adha might seem ordinary in our eyes but imagine kids (i know i cried when i first saw cow’s got slaughtered), people who are vegans saw it, their brain might exaggerate the scene and perceived it was barbaric. The director seems to portray the scene in kid’s perspective. You saw in that scene that the kids cried so hard. You shouldnt felt offended instead make it as a responsibility that if any people asked why the slaughter seems barbaric, explain it based on Islamic teaching. We don’t simply cut animals and make it suffer. Thanks to Wikipedia and its information ; i would love to clarify this to my fellow Malaysians (Non Muslims especially) that one of the rules to slaughter cow in ISLAM is that the knife must be sharp and the cut must be placed on specific location so that cow can face a quick death.

This method of slaughtering lawful animals have several conditions to be fulfilled: (1) The butcher must be Muslim, (2) The name of “ALLAH” or “In the name of Allah” must be called by the Muslim butcher upon slaughter of each halal animal separately, (3) it should consists of a swift, deep incision with a very sharp knife on the throat, cutting the wind pipe, jugular veins and carotid artery of both sides but leaving the spinal cord intact.

Plot :

'Angkat Rumah' Culture
‘Angkat Rumah’ Culture

              The story started with Pak Awang ( Wan Hanafi Su) intended to remove his old house to a new location. He intend to finish rebuilding the house before her daughter get married (She was never shown in the film, FYI). He was planning to give the house as her daughter’s wedding gift. The old house has been left for few years and some part of it beyond repair. Together with his friend, Megat (Harun Salim Bachik), they consulted a local religious leader who is also house builder known as Tok Bilal (Jalil Hamid) for some advice. At first, he was reluctant because of it is nearly impossible task to relocate the house. However, he agreed to assist and by using his influence to ascertain a quite number of villagers to lend their hand in this matter. The story then shifted to an immigrant African man (known as solomon) who’s working as a hawker for counterfeited goods like belts and wallets. However, without having a license to sell, it causes problem to Solomon. All his goods has been confiscated by the authority and he ended up being beaten mercilessly by them. Fortunately, he managed to escape and hide in the lorry. Authority currently searching for him but he successfully fled right into the nearby forest before security checked the lorry.

Solomon hide in Pak Awang's old house.
Solomon hide in Pak Awang’s old house.

                Solomon ran as fast as he could before he stumbled upon Pak Awang old house. He used the house as his shelter before his presence is noticed by ‘good for nothing’ villager, Wan (Sofi Jikan). Never seen a black and African man before, he panicked and alerted head of village and others that the house is haunted. The rumors has been spreading around but the ‘moving house’ activity still continued despite the rumors. Pak Awang intended to finish the moving in 5 days. Villagers kept gossiping about it and related to certain incidents befell to some people is due to the house curse. First, Megat step on fragile floor and sprained his ankle, then Wan saw the black figure in the house, the daughter of one villager has been allegedly bitten by ghost and now, the camel that will be sacrificed for Eid Adha is currently missing. The ghost theory kept getting stronger and villagers are being restless because of the house. In turbulent time like this, we always used Shaman or ‘Bomoh’ to connect the link. It’s in our culture to refer our problem to them. Although this is not widely accepted anymore because Islam forbids it, still few of Malays continuing the beliefs. The shaman concluded based on his prediction that it was ‘Orang Minyak’, one of malay ghost myths. His guess was solely based on Wan’s description and the bitten mark on one of the villager’s daughter. Some of you may not know what is ‘Orang Minyak’ or to translate directly as ‘Oily Man’.

The orang minyak of the 1960s was described as human, naked and covered with oil (supposedly to make it difficult to catch). However, there were also stories of the orang minyak where it was supposedly supernatural in origin, or invisible to non-virgins, or both. The mass panic has also led to unmarried women, typically in student dormitories, borrowing sweaty clothes to give the impression to the orang minyak that they are with a man. (All Credit goes to Wikipedia for this description).

To lure 'Orang Minyak' , all male in village has to cross dress.
To lure ‘Orang Minyak’ , all men in village has to cross dress.

                 The shaman then asked all villagers to cross dress as to lure the demon out. Its somewhat a bit chaotic seeing all male wore baju kurung and vice versa in this village. Thats what Solomon felt when he saw this. He dont understand but he didnt say anything. He made himself remain hidden. The male villagers , on the other hands, remain vigilant to the current situation. Pak Awang failed to convince the rest to not heed what the shaman and Wan said. It might be their imagination, he assumed. Pak awang resorted to bribe Wan seeing that he failed to convince the villagers. He asked Wan to revert his statement and admitted he never saw the ghost around his old house. Wan refused to do that though he did took the money from him.

                Did Pak Awang managed to move his house on time? Did they ever found out that the ‘Oily Man’ is not really an oil man? I wont write the ending because i wanted you guys to watch it.

Road to Escapism…

By The Gorgeous Palah Chingu* Please bear in mind that i aint professional photographer. Any attempt to take a very good picture is very limited in this post due to my own mediocrity. heh.

Venue: Zoo Taiping, Perak Darul Ridzuan, Malaysia.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAcan you spot the monkey?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAyyy Girllllll!!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Love not Hate, Forgive and Forget!

By The Gorgeous Palah Chingu*The opinions expressed in this post are strictly the author’s personal opinions

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“You can judge a man’s true character by the way he treats his fellow animals.”
― Paul McCartney

Recently Malaysian Youth (who I assured that is mostly a moderate Muslims) has been stricken by a dogma of ‘Haram’ to touch a dog. I am nowhere close to be an “ustazah”, let me tell you that but seeing those who attended event ‘I want to touch a dog’ have been insulted and even discriminated by our own society , something inside me just died.

I am at lost. I was sad. I was shocked. I was taken aback.

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Wait a minute, Let us rewind back. Just because they touched a dog, they are being insulted and even called a disgrace, ‘kafir’ and so many more that is not very nice at all. Wow, so much for defending the so called Islamic teaching, they then turned their back on their Muslim brothers and sisters? Dear sister and brother, isn’t that forgiveness is one of the Islamic value? Isn’t that compassion is one of the Islamic value? If both are the Islamic values that we learned from primary school, Islamic school in the evening, and even until you graduated university, why the hell you didn’t practice it? (Pardon my language, I am just here trying to make a point). The ‘Keyboard Warrior’ culture in face book, whatsapp and twitter somehow dominating the ‘I want to touch a dog’ event and suddenly, everybody claimed that they are saints than those who attend it. Oh wait, no! Let me tell you this, you’re not right after doing such things. By humiliating them? uh-uh (shame on you)..

The Prophet (Pbuh) Said: The One Who Has Humiliated a Follower of Mine Is As If He Intends To Declare War on Me. (Imam Ja’far Al-Saadiq quoting the Prophet (pbuh), book of Al-Usool from Al-Kaafi, Vol. 2, Page 351)

Yes, according to our mazhab that it is ‘Haram’ to touch a dog. I am not arguing on that angle. Yes, some narrow minded people might call me infidel/non believer or asking me to repent for posting this post. However, let’s just stop for a minute and wondering the purpose of the event. The organizer has already told that the purpose of the event is for the sake of education. It is not wrong to attend and even touch a dog for sake of education. We, Muslims, are being educated to be afraid of the dogs because we cannot touch it. This situation led to our mindset to believe that they are fierce and violent. Let’s just say that you have a phobia with dog and one day, you are in a bit of situation where you had to help them? What then? Is it still Haram? Isn’t that permissible to help the poor dog? Unfortunately, you are afraid to even touch them and due to that, the dog died because we are too afraid to touch it and let alone to help it. For me, attending the event for the sake of education is no harm in it. It was okay to touch it to learn it and when the time may come for you to use the knowledge, you are prepared mentally and physically. It also helps to encourage people to be more empathetic towards animal and educating that animal cruelty is not acceptable.

The fact that people said the event has good intention but they are against it because commemorating the picture with dog seems overboard. Is it? For the event itself to take a lot of pictures of those who attend it, can you use a little brain of yours that they might use for a purpose for future marketing and some sort of promotion? For those who take the picture using their own camera, they may want to keep it as memory or recollection of being a first timer to ever touch dog. Honestly speaking, I see no harm in it. It is their freedom to do so. Are they invoking anything that religion prohibited? Before you answer it, ask yourself again what is the purpose of the event ‘I want to touch a dog’? It was beyond belief seeing the organizer has to apologize for the event that they organized after there is possible death threat upon them. What happened to my country? My country that I am so proud of for being a moderately Muslim country up to the point that I even bragged to my foreigner friends. Now, I can’t say the same. We are letting our country is driven by those extremists to the brink of fundamentalism and authoritarianism.

puppies kittens 3

I lived in the culture when parents said it’s okay to throw stone to dog ( Mind you, it’s not my parents and for that, I am grateful but I’ve seen so many people says it’s okay to do it because they are ‘Haram’). Excuse me, sir, and madam; are you out of your mind? This happened when people focus too much what is forbidden in the Islam and ignored what’s the basic goodness in Islam. As a peaceful religion, this is not the right values to instill in the followers. Let’s go back to basic, isn’t that dog is Allah’s creation? Isn’t that our religion asks us to be merciful towards animal? So why the hell did you teach your child is okay to stone the dog just because we cannot touch it, just because they are ‘Najis’? (Again, pardon my language). It is not okay. Animal cruelty is not okay. Islam prohibited the teaching that cause injury to others, people or animal.

I am a cat person. People might call me a crazy cat lady but if I happen to meet a person who abuse dog or other animals, be prepared to see my wrath. I can even scold baby if he/she happens to hurting them (pulling tails, hairs and etc). I’ve seen it before and their parents seem okay with it because they are babies. Yes, babies don’t know anything but parents, do your job. Education started at the early age and just because he/she doesn’t know anything doesn’t mean he/she cannot be taught. Be respectful to each other regardless of human or animal is the basic value of human being but sadly, we are so lacking of it.

While our society still battling the lack of concern towards animal, I was surprised to see such event is not welcomed in the society. To worsen the situation, the clerics in Malaysia all ganged up to denounce that event is Haram and forbidden while they took so much times to condemn and declare that fighting in the ISIS is not jihad and those who died fighting in the battle is not ‘syahid’. However, I am thankful to some prominent clerics that dare to differ. They argued their point sensibly and rather than strongly detested it, they asked that next time should be done in different way, more pragmatic I should say. Before I am being taunted for voicing my own opinion, I should stop here. I should put an end to my voice. Call me infidel or ‘Kafir’; I stand by my own opinion.

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credit goes to Malaysians for Malaysia

TRANSITIONS… AND THE CHALLENGES OF GROWING UP

BY RUBY GEGE

(this post is dedicated to all my friends that I love!)

It has been forever since my last post, approximately two months ago. Nevertheless, so many things have been happening to the lives of the three chinguz. Palah, Fatma and I were and are still in the process of discovering new things about ourselves, our lives and where we are actually heading. No answers. Transitions… transitions everywhere. 

Truth to be told, the three chinguz are experiencing a rare moment where all of us are in a state of unhappiness AT THE SAME TIME. Hahahaha. I know it sounds a little over-dramatic but that’s the fact. Still adapting to lives after university, the three of us are struggling to find who we want to be and how can we be who we want to be. What’s worst is that the three chinguz live so far away from each other – literally hundreds of kilometres away. I am in KL, Fatma in Bintulu and Palah in Taiping.

I am going to sound a bit sentimental now… but only after being separated physically from them for some time that I realize how void my life is without them. Friends are the best thing that has happened to my life. Family had disappointed me. Love has disappointed me. I have repeatedly disappointed myself. But friends… friends are my inspiration and motivation. (Am I having a PMS? Why am I sounding terribly corny? Hahahaha) Whilst they were still near me, I got to sit down with them and expressed my worldly problems for hours. I cured my loneliness with their companionship and patience with my impatience personality. Being so far away from each other, I am very VERY prone to calling my best friends a few times EVERYDAY and my phone bill would skyrocketed. Nevertheless, I don’t mind. Because I know I won’t be able to survive life without the connection with people who understand me and have been with me for many years. 

Putting the photo here because I miss them like crazy!!
Putting the photo here because I miss them like crazy!!

What people say is indeed true – the university years are the best years of your life. That’s the place where we formed friends for life, our ideals, our happiness and identities. As we are trying to achieve our dreams, we realize that the roads to our dreams are marred with many great obstacles, miseries and challenges. 

What Fatma said is true. Hahaha. I do tend to write as if I’m writing a novel. I’ve missed this blog so much. I’ve missed writing so much. I’ve missed sitting down to read or watch a great film with a cup of coffee without any worries in my head. 

A summarization about what is currently happening to our lives (that have been making us quite miserable and keep questioning about our life choices) are as follows…

I’ve recently graduated my Master from a local university. To gain experience, I’ve started working in a legal firm as I believe that it would be very instrumental to my self development. As much as I hate to deny it, I am a spoiled upper middle class brat. All my life, I’ve never had to worry about money. I’ve been given a lot of freedom and luxury to live life the way I want to. Thus, to work in something I believe I would not enjoy to the fullest seems like a challenge I must accept. To prove to myself that I am not a spoiled kid all along. To prove to myself I can work hard. To prove to myself that I am capable of being professional. 

Do I hate it? Not really. Do I enjoy it? Not really. But everything is too early to be evaluated. Do I think I belong in the legal industry? Not really. Do I know where I should belong? Not really.

Most importantly, am I happy?

Absolutely not.

As I’ve started working two weeks ago, I’ve been struck with the realization that I have never been this confused with my life. I know what I love yet I feel as if there is no path as to where I should go. I told my good friend Natalia a few days ago that I felt as if I’ve stepped into the Amazon jungle without a compass. Like Scarlett Johannson’s character in the film Vicky Christina Barcelona, I know only what I don’t want… not what I want. Yet, turning back is too late now. With my family and my office mates starting to settle down with my presence in their life as a working woman, it seems that I have no choice but to move along with this new ‘role’. 

Palah, after earning her Master from USM, taught for a few months. Currently, she is working as an overworked administration officer in Taiping. Each time I call her, never once she said she enjoys her current job. But like other human beings in life, she needs money to survive. Whilst still looking for a teaching position, she is considering to start preparing her PhD proposal. However, opportunities come and go in the most unpredictable of manners. The last time I’ve called her (which was yesterday, haha. Yes, people, we call each other allllll the time), she told me she had been disillusioned with the notion of attending interviews – as one knows how tiring and troublesome it can be after her experiences of going to many of them.

From bright hopeful young people with many ideals, Palah and I have degressed into two persons whose dreams seem to be more distanced than ever. Our spirits are down, every single day, as we try to march along doing something we know we HAVE to do, yet have no passion of doing.

Fatma, our chingu over the sea, has been working for a law firm as well for over a year. She had planned to practice. However, a few months ago, she informed us that she had actually lost passion in law, a sentiment I can understand. Both Fatma and I – though we enjoyed studying law very much – know very well that the legal profession will not make us happy. Fatma wants to try the creative field – possibly studying drama and theatre. She’s a highly creative and passionate person and I know if only she has the opportunity, so many great stories can burst out of her head. Yet, like me and Palah, she is also trapped in the circumstances she was in.  To leave Bintulu and fly to Kuala Lumpur and achieve her dreams would require a lot of money, something we are still struggling with. There is also the question of practicality and security. 

The three chinguz… though I can declare with conviction that our spirits are free… but our selves are not. We are used to comfort… used to the presence of an approved clarity in our life… used to being accepted and having somewhere to belong… We dream big yet are too scared to sacrifice everything to achieve them.

Ouh, this post is getting wayyyyyyy to sentimental…. 

I think I better stop now before things get too emotional!

Great things remain, though. Our friendship remain strong, as strong as it has always been. Only when life disappoints me that I realize how much I need friendships in my life. Now, I am more excited to come back to this blog and promise myself to start writing more!!! Despite the confusions and our colourless lives, I have to say we are not the only ones. So many people out there are in the same situations like us.

We are young. We are independent. No one get to dictate what we should do. Mistakes are meant to be made. Miseries are meant to be experienced. Disappointments are meant to be there all along. Life is a journey. And the best is yet to happen.

And here’s to tomorrow! As Scarlett O’Hara said, “After all… tomorrow is another day!”

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Photo taken in Penang, 2014. Credit to the friend I love so much, Atiqah Anas! How much beauty shall one seek in life…?

REDANG ISLAND — You’re a true Beauty

By The Gorgeous Palah Chingu*The opinions expressed in this post are strictly the author’s personal opinions and other individual’s experience may vary.

——- MY FIRST TIME EXPERIENCE BEING (AN UNOFFICIAL) VACATION PLANNER TO MY FAMILY.

4 months ago, I went to Redang Island but I never had a chance to write about it. By chance I mean, I don’t have ample time to do so and somehow writing about my own vacation will drive readers goes bleghhhh. However, lately I felt the urge to write about it probably because I really need a vacation and nature is the best stress reliever. Besides, this is my first time being a vacation planner for my family. Originally, one of my eldest brothers and I decided to give a present of vacation package for the 30th anniversary of my parent’s wedding to them. My father somehow had another plan in his mind. He wanted all of us go and join the vacation. My mother didn’t mind at all and I was at that time is the only one who had a free time to be a planner. After doing some research on the price and where the best resort to stay is, I stumbled upon Redang Mutiara Beach Resort. Compared to other resorts, this place is quite affordable if you wanted to stay on the island.

This is where we have to wait for the ferry to come.
This is where we have to wait for the ferry to come.
Family Photo first (my youngest brother is not in the picture).
Family Photo first (my youngest brother is not in the picture).

We drove from Kuala Lumpur at 10.00 PM on 11 April 2014 whereby the total hours taken to arrive at Terengganu is nearly at 8 hours. We almost lost because finding a small jetty (Merang Jetty) in the isolated area in Terengganu is not easy. Luckily, Waze and Google Maps is pretty much comes in handy in times like that. We arrived at Merang Jetty during Dawn and we slept at Mosque right after Subuh Prayer. Around 8.30 am, we took our breakfast and readied ourselves to wait for our ferry to come and get us. The Itinerary give by Redang Mutiara Beach Resort is pretty much clear and detailed. However, they failed to excel at punctuality. We waited for almost an hour before the ferry arrived and take us to their location. Being an unofficial planner is not easy especially people are expecting you to do everything and if every single thing is not going the way that they wanted, they’re all whining like a bitch. That’s what happened to me. I booked a family suite for my family considering we have 9 people including my parents and my brother’s wife and son. The resort website featured the pictures of their resort near the beach. I was expecting that our family suite is near the beach but it was disappointing seeing that the location is almost isolated and a bit far from the beach. One thing that I really enjoy from the location of our family suite is it is very close to café. Whenever breakfast, lunch and dinner are served, we are among the first one to arrive.

Family Suite
Family Suite

I am also surprised to the lack of organization and cooperation from the staffs there. We arrived there and somehow expected a ‘welcome drink’ at a café as stated in the itinerary. I was wrong. We have to do our own drink and only food is served according to time give. The dry pantry is located near the café where you can get an unlimited supply of Nescafe, Tea, Milk and Sugar there. The hot water also available most of the times considering the part of ‘you have to do your own drink’ is 24/7. The disappointing look from my father when he got to know about this is just unbearable. Of course, it is my fault because I didn’t ask but hey, who would expected that a welcome drink is ‘do your own drink’. If this happened to any of you, you will be sure as hell didn’t expect it too. The family suite is pretty nice. It has 2 rooms with 2 queen beds in it. There is only one toilet attached with shower and sink and it is located in between of the 2 rooms. The food served at the resort is okay. The reason I say okay is because of the price we paid, we should get more than that but somehow, since the taste is not so bad and you can eat how much you wanted to eat, I probably should stop complaining.

at Redang Island Resort
at Redang  Mutiara Island Resort
Cafe at the Redang Mutiara Resort.
Cafe at the Redang Mutiara Resort.

The lack of activities to do at night is what baffled me the most. I was expecting to see some board game as they did mentioned indoor activity in the itinerary. My brothers did go out and play a carom but that’s it. The rest of it like throwing darts or playing card is nowhere to be found. The resort should improve their itinerary by informing the details where to get it and who is the person in charge in the activity. When we arrived on the first day, the staff told me that snorkeling activity will begin at 2.30 PM and anyone wanted to join should wait at reception. My brothers and I decided we wanted to join on tomorrow’s snorkeling trip because we are too exhausted that evening. An 8 hours non-stop driving from Kuala Lumpur and a very little amount of sleep could do that to you. On a second day, I woke up with the hope of going to a snorkeling trip that I missed yesterday. When I asked the counter, they said the boat is already gone. I am so angry at that time. In the itinerary they said it would be at 9.45 but dude, I was there at 9.30. Having to be dismissed right away by the unfriendly staff, I went to a beach to cool myself off. Later, my brothers joined me too. The beach cured my anger right away. With very clear water, white sand and you can see some of the tropical fish, it is magnificent view. After 1 hour playing in the water, we have been approached by another staff at the resort asking whether we wanted to go to snorkeling. I told him that some of the staff said that the boat to snorkeling already gone. He claimed that’s not true and asking my brothers and I to go to the jetty right away. The false information like this showed that some of the staff there is incompetent and should not be allowed to work at reception area. Just imagined if there are no staff reached us and told us that snorkeling has not yet started. It would be PR disaster because I would sure as hell did not want to recommend any of my relatives and friends to go there.

A clear blue seawater
A clear blue seawater
Jetty at Redang Mutiara Beach Resort
Jetty at Redang Mutiara Beach Resort
Breath taking view
Breath taking view

We went to Marine Park which took about 15 minutes to arrive from Redang Mutiara Jetty. Upon arrival, I was so amazed. The water is super clear and the tropical fish in it is so colorful. We wasted no time there. Although I don’t know how to swim but floating is one of my skills that I am so proud of. Using the goggles and life jacket provided by the resort, we started our adventure in Marine Park. My youngest brother tried to teach me to swim but it already failed in the first 5 minutes considering I am panicking whenever he let go of my hands. Some of the visitors there brought white bread with them to feed the fish. I just hope they feed the fish responsibly and know where to put the plastic package of the white bread where it belonged. 1 hours and half passed us by without any of us realize it. I really enjoyed this activity. If I knew how to swim, imagine what would I say if I try scuba diving? That would be so much fun. We went back to the resort with the smile of my face. Of course, my face burned and my body ached so much but it’s all worth it. In the evening, there is another snorkeling activity arranged by the resort. I persuaded my parents to join the activity. Unfortunately, we didn’t go to the Marine Park but we go to another island with wide beach that doesn’t limit people to do swimming, snorkeling and scuba diving. Marine Park is gorgeous but this one is more tourists friendly. My dad who is enthusiastic in fishing felt that he could catch some of the big fish there if he brought the fishing rod. Most of the area in Redang Island is protected area so there is no fishing activity allowed there. If you wanted to go fishing, you have to rent a boat and went to the area that fishing is allowed which is a bit far from the island.

Spending quality time with my brothers
Spending quality time with my brothers
My nephew and his own version of sand castle
My nephew and his own version of sand castle

By the way, if you happened to go here and expected some fresh seafood to be served during BBQ, please lower your expectation. I really hope that their BBQ in itinerary will serve fresh seafood like squid or seashells and it’s not. It turned out my father was right. There’s a hot dog and some frozen food that has been cooked earlier. Another disappointment served us that night. We went back to KL on 14 April 2014. We checked out right after the breakfast and arrived at Merang Jetty around 11. We did some sightseeing at Kuala Terengganu before heading back to Kuala Lumpur at 4 PM. We arrived at KL around 11 PM. Yes, we are disappointed with this vacation but I redeemed this feeling with the experience of having to try snorkeling for the first time and enjoyed the serene feeling underwater with fish swimming under me. It may look ordinary to some of you but heck; I would love to do it again and again. You will find no picture on Marine Park because we left our phones at the suite. Even if i bring my own camera, it does not have waterproof feature where it would be useful to take picture of tropical fish at the Marine Park.

Overall rating for this Redang Island trip:

My Rating: 3/5

1) Marine Park (Snorkeling Activities): 4/5

2) Facilities: 3/5

3) Accommodation: 3 /5

4) Food: 3 /5

5) Staffs: 2.5/5

Missile fired at Malaysian plane (MH17)

By The Gorgeous Palah Chingu

Another Sad Tragedy Befell upon Malaysia:

I am speechless. I knew this terrible news from one of my best friends. She informed me that another Malaysian Flight MH17 has been shot down in the border of Russia-Ukraine. All of the passengers and the flight crews has been confirmed dead due to no survivors detected right after the plane blasted in the air. This is indeed sad. It felt that we had been stabbed twice in the heart at the exact same spot metaphorically speaking. The plane was shot down 17 July. What an unfortunate coincidence to have my birthday (which supposed to be a happy day) but instead i cried while scrolling the news on  my laptop. 

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The fact that 298 people died just like that struck me. That’s a human life are we talking about. How can you shot it and apologized for your mistakes later? Have you no shame? what if we did the same to you? How did you feel? A lot of families lost their loved ones in this calamity. The atrocity committed by those who’re involved in this is unspeakable and should not be tolerated at all. On the other hands,The death in Gaza has been rising day by day. Those freaking Zionists somehow didnt show any sign to stop their bloodthirsty action. Now, another innocent civilians has been killed just because the perpetrator(s) could not figure out which of the planes carrying harmless souls with the planes who’ve been suspected to any war activities. In Iraq, People have been killed in this freaking 6 months and the count rate has increases up to 5500 civilians. This killing has to STOP.

I dont want to point finger to anyone. Those who involved directly and indirectly hopefully will be punished for their crime. This misfortune incident is something We should care and know about. It might not occur to us but if it did, how will you feels? I am sure that you might feel angry, sad, depressed and all those emotions will be attached deeply in your heart. To the families who lost their loved ones in this unforgivable cataclysm of MH17, Please know that we are here for you. We will cry together with you. We might not felt the same pain inflicted on you but we would like to share the burden of it. This same goes to the all families around the world especially Gaza and Iraq who’s currently battling and fight for the right to live. We will not forget you. May God grants all of you His Protection.

To the non Muslim families in the tragedy of MH17, May your loved ones rest in peace and I wish i had the right words to say but just know that i am among people in this world that care.

To the Muslim families in the tragedy of MH17, “Surely we belong to Allah and to Him shall we return”.

This Thing about Unilateral Conversions in Malaysia

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by Ruby Gege

I am personally very disappointed today. Over an issue that has been dragged on for years. It should have been solved, could have been solved years before but I’m not sure what was stopping the proper parties from reaching a solution. The solution is clear – it is there, it can provide for a finality in the dispute.

However, due to the fears of offending certain factions of the Malaysian society, the proper parties have somehow intelligently avoided from showing their stances. They need to give a solution. They don’t really want to – I know. It is a difficult thing, indeed. Who wants to be stuck in the middle of that dilemma that involves two faiths of two different persons – the mother and the father?

Unilateral conversions of children have been a major issue in Malaysia and most of the time, the stories had a tragic backdrop to them. Father and mother were a non-Muslim married couple with children. Years later, the marriage turned sour. Father converted to Islam and applied for divorce from the Syariah Court. At the same time, he also converted their children without the consent of the mother, changing their religions to Islam. I don’t think he bothered to ask the children what they think. What more the mother. Then, since the children were supposedly of the same religion with the father, the father was granted custody order. Thus, to him, the children belonged to him.

Based on a number of famous cases in Malaysia, one can safely assume that the mother is always the victim to this one-sided proceedings. The father converted to Islam without telling her, applied for divorce from Syariah Court (which decisions bind only Muslims) without consulting her and converted her children without her knowledge. She was half the unit that gave birth to the children. She was half the unit that raised them. Yet, when it comes to cases such as this, her importance was discarded. Her role as the mother – notwithstanding the religion she subscribed to – was diminished. By whom – the husband, the judiciary or the whole system that seems to be treating her unfairly?

Yes, ‘fairness’ is the main issue here. Is it fair to the mother? I prefer to use the word ‘mother’ here in light of the frequency of the cases which involves the mother not having knowledge of their husbands’ act in converting the children and having them deprived from her. If one is to read all the stories in the newspaper and also the case reports, one could very well conclude that it is not. It is not fair. Nevertheless, in situations like this, most people would react with… “What can we do? What to do? The father has the right to act as such anyway. The mother has the order of the civil court, the father the Syariah court. Both have orders. Both have the rights. So what can we do? How can we favour the mother over the father? We don’t have a right to tear away the children from the father as well.”

For the public, they can say such thing, considering they are the public. As for the proper parties who are entrusted by the public to ensure fairness, I do hope that they would display more determination in this matter. Referring to a number of news for the past few days, many significant leaders have suggested solutions which, in my humble opinion, stray from the clear-cut solutions we have in mind. Instead of offering solutions to solve problems, the suggestions lead to more waiting and confusion.

The suggestion that has triggered this post and the one I personally find most disappointing is that the interfaith custody battle should be determined by the Federal Court. Now, I disagree with such view purely from the technical angle. It is already very costly to hire a lawyer and wait for the case to go to court. After having the relief of bringing the case to the attention of the High Court (which is established by the Federal Constitution which happens to be THE SUPREME LAW OF THE LAND) and obtaining an order, the mother or aggrieved party was then told something similar to this effect – “yeah, sorry, I know you spent so many time and energy to gain your son’s custody. But guess what? The High Court order is not good enough. Now, you have to re-hire your lawyers, spend more money, time and energy and witness the continuation of this case.” Problem is, as a normal insignificant citizen, I don’t see any end to the continuation. I can’t. And I am forever a skeptic as to the Federal Court’s ability to solve the matter further.  

We need a solution. That is clear enough. We also need a determination and finality in that solution. Any so-called solution that proves to drag the matter further, causing more suffering to the parties. We are in dire need of fairness and justice in that solution. From what I observe, all eyes are on the Federal Court now. I did not really take the suggestion seriously when it was mentioned by the Prime Minister. Then, a few minutes ago, the Attorney-General suggested the same thing. And I was a bit surprised. I asked myself – is that it? Is that the solution we have been seeking for? Really?

But then… what about the mothers who have been separated from their children?

What about their children’s happiness? What about fairness?

It seems like my disappointment remains… for now.