I/O, Out...

They say life is a cycle.

Sometimes you're up, and other times, you're down. There is some truth in that saying, but it's not always the case. And no, I'm not going to get into details why I am of such opinion.

A n y w a y s . . .

A couple of months back, I was practically in a limbo. I was facing an unsure future, frustratingly waiting for the verdict, the final outcome which would then be the basis of my next move.

You see, I became the target of some flimsy and amateurish plot; a rather sophomoric way to move me out by concocting some baseless and unintelligent accusations. It pissed me off big time, of course it did.

But I was faced with two roads - stick and prove my innocence and value, or say 'fuck this shit," pack my bags and go to where I am valued.

I did the former. Don't ask why, I myself don't know.

Seriously, I don't.

So, I soldiered on, but at the back of my subconscious mind, I knew it was a just matter of time before I was going to leave; one could only stomach so much idiocy and narrow-mindedness, y'know?

And I was cleared.

As I said, the plot was amateurish at best.

But the paranoia didn't stop. Some folks were scared that I would tell on them, that I would expose the shady dealings they have been undertaking, that despite the multiple levels by which they hid them, I still uncovered what they were.

I didn't intend to.

So off they go again, trying to find ways to force me to quit. They know they don't have anything on me to force me out. This time, they concocted things that are so ludicrous to the point of absolute hilarity.

I was laughing, still laughing, and for time to come, will be laughing.

But I'm done.

I've been done for sometime now.

This time, having learned from the previous episode, I know what to do.

But just just like how I went in and shook their world, I going to leave them something to remember me by.

I'm preparing to go to my occupational 'home.' On the way there, something from left field came knocking, but that is a story for another time.

While finalizing the journey, I was engaged by a few parties to do something for them, things I thoroughly enjoy doing, and am generously compensated at that.

I've been blessed, and I thank God everyday day for that.

And as I, together with the peeps who helped me make things happen, move on to continue to make things happen, I have nothing but pity for the small minded folks we leave behind.

Oh well.

Restlessly Restful

When I was abroad, I knew I wanted to come home.

But I didn't want to come home to just about any company that wanted my service. I was clear and steadfast with my decision, I would only come back to work in Malaysia for two companies - Malaysia Airlines or PETRONAS.

I was prepared for the delay, or the possibility that I would get neither.

But the adage "man proposes, god disposes" came and knock me off senseless.

A tragedy that shook the nation and the world brought me home, temporarily, at least that's why I kept telling myself then. Truth be told, I didn't want to stay beyond the help that was required of me by the powers that be.

In my mind, then, I was going to do my bit for my country and go back to where I enjoyed a sexy and lucrative job. I knew it will take a few months, for the very reason why I agreed to help - My Small Baby - needed me around.

So I stayed, or more likely, flew in and out.

When everything was stabilizing, I was ready to pack my bags and go. This time, to what most people would call a dream job. I was offered to be the Global Brand Director of one of the biggest flag-carriers in the world.

But yet again, I was humbled by the same adage.

Another tragedy shook the nation. And yet again, I was asked to serve.

And so I did. Again.

But I knew this time around it would be shorter. And I was still en route to go to that dream job.

In between serving the nation and preparing myself to reacclimatize to the Mediterranean culture and weather, an email from a stranger came. It basically said someone (his wife) from a previous interview remembered me and felt that I was the right person to do what her organization is looking for.

Emails and calls were exchanged, and on one rainy afternoon during Ramadhan, I found myself walking into the iconic building for a 'chit-chat'. It was followed by months of more interviews, negotiations, medical, the whole nine yards.

And despite the formal offer, I was undecided.

But in November last year, I found myself in a new job, with a new portfolio, and a new team.

Fast forward to today, and here I am, still on the journey to find my last hurrah, to be where I envisioned my occupational home is.

At least, I am at one of the two I wanted to be in, the two organizations I only wanted to come home to.

The question is, is this home?

Happy Birthday, Cmol!

To the Queen of My Heart, 

Thank you, and Happy Birthday.

Jesus Won't Be Pleased

"You destroy those who speak lies; the Lord abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man." 
                                                                                                                                Psalm 5:6

Doesn't Christianity teaches truthfulness?

The last time I checked, it does. In fact, there are numerous verses in the Bible, both Old and New Testaments, detailing the wrongness of telling lies and not being truthful.

And with what's going on in the country right now, I can't help but wonder: would Jesus (pbuh) be pleased with what the church and the evangelists are doing?

Before I proceed any further, let me, first and foremost, state my stand vis a vis the whole "Allah issue" that seems to keep on coming up around every December.

Doesn't the Bible teach you to be truthful?

Personally, and I definitely can't speak on behalf of the other Muslims in the country, on a general level, I seriously think it's too much ado about nothing. I am very confident in my faith that nothing - and no one - could even remotely tempt me to reconsider my religion.

I was born a Muslim and will die a Muslim. No matter how much I've sinned in this world, no evangelists could try to hoodwink me into believing that Jesus could save me from my sins, and that Islam is not the religion of truth.

Granted, I'm not like most Muslims in the country. I was brought up overseas, attended Catholic and International Schools - Gosh! I sound just like our Minister of Youth and Sports! LOL - grew up with different people from different race and religion, in different places with different cultures. The point I'm trying to say here is that, despite all the aforementioned, I'm still holding on to the religion that I was born into by choice.

Another fundamental difference I noticed is that, unlike lots of the Malaysian Muslims, I actually took the effort to read and learn more about my religion. I didn't just rely on the Islamic preachers for my understanding and knowledge.

So yeah, I'm quite confident in my Islamic faith.

Besides, if you were to really study the religion in its purest sense, you'd find that Islam is a very tolerant religion. And if every Muslim in the world - especially in Malaysia - take it upon themselves to really learn their religion - and not just rely on the preachers - none of the issues that are currently plaguing the country would even be an issue.

Islam is a tolerant religion

However, having said that, I also understand why my Muslim brethren in Malaysia are up in arms. Simply put, it's because of the duplicity and untruthfulness of the church and its followers.

This whole Allah issue is, to my mind, not about any religious persecution as the Christians like to keep on saying. It's also not just about politics, historical usage, and legalities; it really boils down to two things - Proselytization and The Church's Duplicity and Obduracy.

I don't, for one second, buy the church's or the evangelists' usual reasoning of wanting to use Allah. If they were true Christians, they should just come out of this duplicity and speak the truth, i.e. it's easier to convert the naive, the poor and downtrodden, and those who lack faith, by - and with  - using Allah to describe their god(s).

Look, Christianity - like Islam - is an evangelical religion. It is part of the tenets of our faiths to propagate our religion. You are not really a good Christian - or Muslim - if you don't propagate your religion. no? Whereas in Islam there is no compulsion, Christianity, on the other hand, uses its stratagem of contextualization. The Christian missionaries 'localize' their religion - and every tools that come with it - to make it more understandable and relatable to their target audience.

This is where I seriously question the church's motives. As Christians, aren't they supposed to be truthful? Isn't it a sin to be deceitful? And what's worst, because they've allowed themselves - and inadvertently, their flocks - to be influenced and used by some unscrupulous politicians, they are now antagonizing the Muslims by showing their obduracy, with all their chest-thumping proclamations of "fuck the law" and/or "fuck the Sultan" while playing, at the same time, victims of imaginary 'religious persecutions."

The propagation of Christianity and their implementation of contextualization have been going on since time immemorial

And here's the most hypocritical part; did you know that the Catholics and the 'born-again' Christians don't even like each other? One doesn't even consider the other real Christians. (I guess it's a Malaysian thing, the Sunni-Shia thing being the same) And yet, with this 'Allah issue,' and in trying to antagonize the Muslims, they all seem to be united!

Did you know that the Catholic church in Shah Alam doesn't offer communions to those who were not baptized Catholics? I'm not trying to defend the Muslims but I've never heard of any mosques in Malaysia that prohibit non-Sunni Muslims from praying, have you?

See what I mean by deceitfulness?

Anyways, going back to what I was saying, the unfortunate thing - for the church and the Christians - is that, in Malaysia, proselytization to Muslims is prohibited by law. This is what the church and the Christians should be going after if they are being truthful.

Rather than going to court - and if you fail, go to town and play victims of non-existent 'religious persecution'  - for just the right to use Allah in your publications, why not challenge the law that prohibits proselytization?

After all, in all honesty, that is what y'all really want, no? The only question is, in the words of SatD,  "ada berani"?

Faith is such a powerful thing to those who have it. It allows people to believe in anything and everything their human minds couldn't fathom. Unfortunately, it also allows for the so-called preachers to systematically brainwash their believers into accepting things without the need to question.

As for me, I take comfort in what Allah swt said in the Qur'an:

وَلَا تَقْفُ مَا لَيْسَ لَكَ بِهِ عِلْمٌ إِنَّ السَّمْعَ وَالْبَصَرَ وَالْفُؤَادَ كُلُّ أُولَٰئِكَ كَانَ عَنْهُ مَسْئُولًا 

"You shall not accept any information, unless you verify it for yourself. I have given you the hearing, the eyesight, and the brain, and you are responsible for using them." 
                                                                                                                                Surat Al-Isra, Verse 36

I'm A Suluk. And Proud Of It!

"Misan hisiyu atu, tindugan da ha pantay
Bang kadal ku mabut na, ha pasal mu tagama
Misan ha lupa’ punud, di’ matay in paglasa" 

Note: At the height of the Lahad Datu invasion last year, a writer friend of mine, who works at Astro Awani, asked me to pen an article about the Suluks in Sabah and how the invasion was affecting our already much-maligned people. 

This is what I wrote.

First of all, let me declare that I’m a Suluk.

And I’m proud to be one.

The recent incursion/invasion - or whatever one might want to call it - placed my people, yet again, in the limelight for the wrong reasons. Before this, the Suluks were already - unfairly at times - considered a menace in Sabah society. Now, people are even questioning are loyalties to this great nation of ours!

Who are the Suluks?

The biggest misconception about my people is that we are all Filipinos. Granted that perhaps most of the Suluks in Sabah right now are descendants of the Tausugs from the Philippines, not all of us are.

Placing things in proper perspective, there are two types of Suluks in Sabah – the ones who descended from the times when the Sulu Sultanate were still ruling and have long domiciled in North Borneo, and the ones who arrived at the height of the Filipino-Moro conflicts in the 1970’s. Nevertheless, both these people come from the same ancestral tribe, albeit domiciled in different places.

Jolo, Sulu; The ancestral home of all Tausugs/Suluks

Ever since the influx of Suluk refugees in the 1970’s, the perception towards our people had gone from bad to worst. Sadly, and cowardly if I may so, some of our own people couldn't hack the continued malignancy that they decided to disassociate themselves from their own tribe, and instead preferred to be known as Bajaus, Orang Sungeis, Iranuns and what not.

It is also disheartening to note that while most Malaysians do not actually know the origins and history of my people in this country, they are quick to judge and label everyone as Filipinos.

How many Malaysians know that years before the formation of Malaysia, my people have already been, for hundreds of years, domiciled in what is now known as Sabah? I can guarantee that not many Malaysians know that.

It isn't a coincidence that the man known and acknowledged by Sabahans as ‘Bapah Sabah’ is a Suluk; the same man the British colonizers trusted with the welfare of all Sabah natives when they appointed him as the State’s first local Governor when granting independence.

Through the years, the Malaysian media haven’t always been fair in portraying the Sabahan Suluks. How many Malaysians know that, besides the State’s first governor, the current Governor is a Suluk? How many of you know that prominent Suluks have been part and parcel of the State’s political power?

And contrary to popular belief, not all Suluks in Sabah are living in squalors and/or are petty criminals. There are many of us who are educated and professionals; some are serving in the military and police force, others are very much entrenched in the country’s political and governmental systems. But besides being proud Suluks, one thing in common between all the aforementioned is that we are all loyal Malaysians.

And if there’s one thing you need to know about our people, besides the fact that our bravery is legendary and duly recorded in the annals of history, Suluks are known for - and are very proud of - our sense of loyalty.


Jolo, Sulu; The bravery of the Tausugs are legendary

It's now coming into the 1st anniversary of the Lahad Datu invasion, and while the case against those who perpetuated the attack are on-going, the continued negative portrayal of my people by the media have turned for the worst.

Whenever there is a crime committed by the Suluks in Sabah, the media - especially The Star - goes out of their way to make sure that their audience knows that the perpetrator is a Suluk.

Generally, I wouldn't really give two hoots about it but when you see a pattern - the specific mentioning of the perpetrator's tribe if they are Suluks but not when other tribes commit the same crimes - you then start asking yourself why.

And it doesn't take a genius to conclude that there is a subtle yet consistent propagation of the notion that the Suluks are truly a menace to Sabah society.

Well, should this biased portrayal continues, all I can say is that, without a doubt, the people responsible will finally understand what 'marwah' means to my people, and experience first hand how we deal with those who trample on our 'marwah.'

Don't say I didn't warn y'all.

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