Much Ado about Nothing – II

Rais Yatim proposes women to obtain consent before traveling out of the country, Ibrahim Ali calls for women to be educated on polygamy and Munirah Bahari of National Islamic Student Association of Malaysia thinks that the current school uniform instigates rape; I couldn’t quite decide which is worse of the three suggestions.

Despite his obvious lacking in ruling the country, Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi, nipped Rais Yatim’s proposal in the bud, saving yours truly from crying foul on this issue. I don’t have much to think about Ibrahim Ali – his thunderous words tantamount to much ado about nothing – even though his voters think the world of him. His insinuation is nothing less than an insult to Malaysian women including this blogger. Remember Sir, a woman brought you to this world and a woman bore your children through ultimate pain and suffering. If you don’t have anything else to say, it is best that you shut up rather than shooting yourself in the foot like what you just did.

And to Munirah, just go get yourself a complete education for scarce knowledge often leads to catastrophe. Rape originates not from women’s clothing for it is a trespass to a human body without his or her consent. If she decides to walk around naked, and hypothetically someone rapes her, that someone is still a rapist in the eyes of the law.

My sincerest advice to the politicians and NGOs alike is to think before you speak. Or just emulate the British: if you don’t have anything else to say, restrict your conversation to the weather. Now if you excuse me folks, I have a son a raise, a husband to deal with, a law firm to run, a blog to update, a new pair of shoes to trot around town with and at the same time worry whether this overpriced white shirt I am wearing to court is too transparent it calls for someone to rape me, and of course, I must remind myself to get an education on polygamy. After all, I am just a woman.

Just for the record, white is my favourite colour.

Sleepless in Setiawangsa – 13

I chuckled alone last weekend at grandma’s house reading about the lorry driver who applied to Syariah court to take his fourth (and hopefully the last) wife. The presiding judge found himself in an unusual – or rather shocking – position when the three other wives actually consented to their husband’s wish. The news brings us to this posting. Be that as it may, I need to remind myself that I am not a pious individual neither am I a Qur’an expert to dwell in this subject; whatever is written in the following paragraphs derives from my reading and personal understanding in so far as polygamy is concerned. I stand to be corrected at any point in this issue by anyone who has deeper knowledge and bona fide intention at heart.

Surah An-Nisa‘ 4:3 states that “if you fear that you shall not be able to deal justly with the orphans, marry women of your choice, two, three or four; but if you fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly (with them), then only one…that will be more suitable, to prevent you from doing injustice“. [Translation by Yusuf Ali].

The Surah opens a floodgate of arguments between men and women since time in memorial. Despite the glaring condition precedence to do justly among the wives, many decide to plunge into polygamy for reasons known only to them. No, I am not talking about the consented polygamy by a man who is basking in money, so to speak; I am talking about us mere mortals whose ability to do justly is greatly challenged in every step of the way.

Like what my friend Reza argues, “the Surah gives a blanket approval for man to marry another BUT with a strong pre-contidion”. Now, while many polygamous men claim that they are as impartial as a judge between the wives, plenty of injustices occur on the same platform. Records at Syariah courts prove that influx of complaints have been filed in polygamous marriages.

I am unable to defy the will of God in allowing a man to marry up to four wives. But the voice in my head tries in vain to define what constitutes “justly” in its literal sense. Shaykh Muhammad al-Ghazali shines a light on my bleak path when he says, “Those who wish to take a second wife are not considered eligible unless they can show that they can afford to keep and be equally fair to both wives. Furthermore, marriage in Islam is never allowed without the consent of both parties, and any woman who does not wish to enter into a polygamous marriage has the right to refuse.” [Source: A Thematic Commentary on the Qur'an at page 57].

With the exception of the lorry driver’s wives, I am sure, the majority of women would rather see their husbands being struck by a lightening than take another wife. I heard tales of polygamous husband who sleeps in a hotel when faced with two fuming mad wives. Another polygamous husband wishes Aidilfitri never appears on the calendar so that he won’t risk his neck deciding which house he should be in comes Pagi Raya. A client of mine (who is, of course, polygamous) swears that one day he will die while commuting from Ampang to Petaling Jaya in a futile bid to please both of his wives. Polygamy turns man into a consummate liar in order not to hurt his wives’ feelings.

While you pray polygamy would be as easy as depicted in P. Ramlee’s movie, the reality smacks the face of him who dares to take another wife. What we forget during this academic debate on polygamy is that we, women, end up getting crashed and burnt. But since it is in the nature of men to thrive upon challenge, I hereby rest my case.

I end this post with Surah An-Nisa‘ 129, the translation of which reads as, “you are never able to be fair and just as between women, even if it is your ardent desire“. With that I now open the floor for debate. :-)

Goodnight Sleepless wherever you are.

Tun Dr. Mahathir quits UMNO

The crisis within UMNO plunges deeper into misery when Tun Dr. Mahathir announces that he quits UMNO. However, Tun said that he will rejoin UMNO if Abdullah resigns as the nation’s Prime Minister. I never thought I live to see the day Tun (whose UMNO number is 000001) abandons UMNO. I thought of the prologue at the beginning of Act 1, Romeo & Juliet’s play -

Two households, both alike in dignity,
In fair Verona, where we lay our scene,
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.
From forth the fatal loins of these two foes
A pair of star-cross’d lovers take their life;
Whole misadventured piteous overthrows
Do with their death bury their parents’ strife.
The fearful passage of their death-mark’d love,
And the continuance of their parents’ rage,
Which, but their children’s end, nought could remove,
Is now the two hours’ traffic of our stage;
The which if you with patient ears attend.

Home Sweet Home

Itinerary:-

Flight tickets – checked.

Leave laptop at home – checked.

Books – checked.

Luqman’s wordly material without which Mommy’s gone nuts – checked.

Cash & Credit Card – checked, checked.

State of mind not to have internet connection for a week – unsure.

I won’t be logging on for a while. I am flying home tomorrow to take my son back to his mom’s root. I am flying home to hug grandma and my entire family in Kelantan. Ah, can hardly wait…

I’ll be back soon. Take care.

[Pictures stolen from Aishah without her prior permission]

Unaccustomed Earth – Book Review

Thumbing through the pages of this book, I recall few moments etched in my mind forever. I remember reading Enid Blyton’s series and Hamka’s Tenggelamnya Kapal Van Der Wijck underneath shady trees in an orchard behind Tok Nik’s house.

The orchard, which stays at the border of a padi field, has always been deserted and I found great solace there. I used to hide in the orchard after Quran’s classes – which was taught by Tok Nik, grandma’s late brother – not caring about the sweltering heat or stray monkeys and monitor lizards. I thought about that orchard all the time.

And I remember laying down on the earth of Weston Park in Sheffield, staring at the cloudless sky as the summer chases away the cold misery of winter and spring. Jhumpa Lahiri does exactly that to you. She writes a breezy masterpiece sending you back to that peaceful place you remember most in your life. I am spellbound, to say the least, with her ease and style.

Lahiri won a Pulitzer Prize for her debut collection of short stories, The Interpreter of Maladies, which I haven’t been privileged to read just yet. However, her second novel, The Namesake, receives accolades from the literary circle around the globe.

Unaccustomed Earth sits at the new arrival’s shelves both in MPH and Times bookstores. If I were you, I’d give it a try. Despite the steep price – since the book is still in a hardcover form – Lahiri gives you good reasons to part with your RM65.90. If patience is your forte and you can’t bear to spend that much just on fiction’s genre, you can wait another year for the publisher to come out with the book’s soft cover version.

The author divides the book into two sections. The first part consists of five short stories and the second part comes in a form of a mini novel.

The voice of the characters, though not persistent, soothes the reader’s mind. The short stories are mainly based on sad and unfortunate sequence of events in her characters life. Thus, if you are looking for a happy read, this should be not be the title of your pick.

The author disconcertingly tries to balance American and Bengali cultures in location sets between India and the United States. Her effort to achieve the said balance, though possible, is quite misguided in my personal point of view.

Lahiri peppers the dialogue in the book with a dash of reality which I find entertaining. She themes her book around love, friendship, relationship and the clash of western and eastern world. In the end, she captures her reader’s heart all the same.

All in all, Lahiri’s creativity in this book outshines every room for criticism in her story. Be that as it may, this blogger is partisan to British authors, so you might want to bear this in mind before you decide to buy the book. :-)

  • Title: Unaccustomed Earth
  • Local Price: RM65.90(MPH)
  • Publisher: Knopf
  • Genre: Short Stories
  • ISBN:978-0-307-26573-9
  • Pages: 333

Raja Petra refuses bail

Oh dear, this is just what I feared the most. Raja Petra Kamarudin (PRK) is now charged with sedition at Petaling Jaya Sessions Court. The court fixed the trial date on October 6, 2008. However, the blogger in question refused to post bail of RM5000 for reasons only known to himself. Therefore, PRK will now lounge in Sungai Buloh prison until the trial commences.

I believe in freedom of speech and I know that every individual is entitled to his or her own personal opinions, but someone, or anyone, please convince RPK to post bail. Sungai Buloh prison isn’t exactly Pangkor Laut Resort to stay until October. I agree with my fellow blogger Tangents, click here.

Letter from a sailor

A sailor friend, Hakeem Haron, moored his ship somewhere in the depth of South China Sea and decided to send me a charming e-mail. The e-mail reads:

Never argue with a woman who reads…

One morning the husband returns after several hours of fishing and decides to take a nap. Although not familiar with the lake, the wife decides to take the boat out. She motors out a short distance, anchors, and reads her book.

Along comes a Game Warden in his boat. He pulls up alongside the woman and says, “Good morning, Ma’am. What are you doing?

Reading a book,” she replies, (thinking, “isn’t that obvious?”)

You are in a restricted fishing area,” he informs her.

I am sorry officer, but I am not fishing. I’m reading.

Yes, but you have all the equipment. For all I know you could start at any moment. I’ll have to take you in and write you up!

If you do that, I’ll have to charge you with sexual assault,” retorts the woman.

But I haven’t even touched you!” says the game warden.

That’s true, but you have all the equipment. For all I know you could start at any moment.

Have a nice day ma’am.” And he left her alone.

Moral: Never argue with a woman who reads. It’s likely that she can also think. Send this to women who are thinkers. If you receive this, you know you are intelligent. If you are a guy, this serves as warning.

And I thought that was awfully sweet of my sailor friend to send me this email all the way from the ocean!