Is ‘mamak’ a derogatory term?

by: Jahabar Sadiq

Image may contain: 3 people, indoor

My friend wondered aloud whether using the term mamak was derogatory. I replied that it wasn’t and the conversation went on for a bit.

But mamak is just a Malaysian term, and its a corruption of the word mama, which means uncle in Tamil. And it is specifically uncle on the maternal side.

Uncles on the paternal side are known as sacha or chacha. And for variety, depending where you are from in Tamil Nadu, mama is also pronounced and spelled mamu. Hence the Penang variant.

So how did it become a put-down or a derogatory term. From what I know, it came about from the old days of Malacca when the Bendahara Sri Maharaja Tun Mutahir or prime minister was seen as a vain pot. He was accused of plotting against the sultan and his entire family was put to death in 1510, a year before Malacca fell to the Portuguese.

And then there’s Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who is of Indian Muslim descent. A fair number of people have called him derogatory names including mamak and mamak kutty. That probably explains the reason why mamak is derogatory for some.

But Dr Mahathir isn’t mamak. His family came from Kerala and they are known as Kakas. Ignorance has resulted in more odium and contempt for the more popular Mamaks rather than the Kakas.

But you want to talk derogatory? Or dirty.

The Indians themselves, and in Malaysia that really means the southern Indians or Tamils, have also described Indian Muslims in less than friendly manner. The term they use is Thulukans, or people of Turkish descent.

There’s a long history there as Islam came by land and sea to India – that sub-continent of princeling states and people divided by language, diet, culture and united by the British (correction, India was united before that so in defence I’ll say, English language).

The Arabs always had relations with India even before Islam but a fair number of Muslims came by land from the northwest and pushed right through to the south. They were of Turkic origins. The seafaring Arabs proselytised among the coastal Indians in the east coast and somewhat in the west coast and their offsprings were just known as Arabs, not Mamak or Kaka.

But among the Indian Muslims, the term Thulukan is friendly and a sign of recognition of brotherhood and family relationships.

What term do Indian Muslims or Mamaks use to put each other down? They call each other ToppiWappa. But it is friendly, not spiteful or derogatory.

Why I’m writing this down? Because I might forget all this one day and also to underline one thing. You can call Mamaks and think it is derogatory but it is a sign of respect. And you know, the Mamaks are there 24 hours to cook delicious fare for you and your family. And there for your cigarettes, condoms and crisps.

So before you think it is bad and not politically correct, just know the Mamak doesn’t quite care. They are a courteous community focussed on family, feasts and finance.

The rest of Malaysia can’t live without them, and know them as the people you go to when in you need food, foreign exchange and friendship.

Get the picture? Oh, and maybe one day I will write about 786.

Source: Facebook Jahabar Sadiq (27th May 2017)

Apa Yang Kita Boleh Belajar Daripada Polisi Perumahan Singapura

Oleh:Tajul Rijal Annuar

Beberapa minggu lepas saya ke Singapura, melawat mak-mak saudara saya yang sakit. Sebenarnya, kesemua adik beradik Mak saya kecuali arwah Mak Long adalah warganegara Singapura. Jadi keluarga saya memang biasa sangat ke sana.

Jadi, hari ni saya nak cerita sikit pasal perumahan di Singapura. Sebenarnya, kita ni ada love-hate relationship dengan Singapura.

Pantang kalau kita dengar negara jiran kita lebih dari kita dan Singapura pun macam itu juga. Hahahah.

Walaupun saya ini nasionalis, lagilah tak berapa minat pemerintahan dinasti Lee, tetapi, ada beberapa perkara kita boleh belajar dari mereka!

Ada sesetengah bab mereka berjaya, dan kita tidak. Jadi, kita perlu belajar.

Satu perkara yang menarik dengan Singapura adalah perumahan awamnya. Kalau di Malaysia, rumah awam ini sinonim sebagai rumah kos rendah yang buruk dan tak terjaga.

Apabila ada kemampuan, tak ada yang mahu duduk di rumah awam. Tapi jika ada peluang, semua mahu memiliki rumah awam kerana harganya yang rendah.

Asas Polisi Perumahan Singapura

Di Singapura, perumahan awam di panggil flat HDB. HDB adalah singkatan kepada Housing Development Board, iaitu sebuah badan pengurusan yang membina dan menguruskan perumahan untuk rakyat Singapura.

Kita perlu tahu di Singapura, 80% penduduknya tinggal di perumahan HDB dan cuma 20% yang tinggal di perumahan persendirian (private housing). Bahasa mudahnya, 80% mereka ini tinggal di rumah awam dan 20% dari mereka tinggal di rumah mahal pemaju swasta.

Menarik, kan? Sedangkan di Malaysia, untuk mendapat rumah di bawah program kerajaan, memang kita tahu, amatlah susah sekali.

Polisi perumahan Singapura ini sebenarnya sudah berjalan lama. Tapi ianya menjadi berjaya ketika zaman mendiang Lee Kuan Yew. Pemerintah Singapura meletakkan polisi perumahan rakyat sebagai perkara utama dalam pemerintahan mereka.

Asas untuk polisi perumahan HDB ini sebagaimana dikatakan mendiang Lee Kuan Yew:

“Saya inginkan masyarakat yang memiliki rumah. Saya sudah melihat perbezaan antara rumah kos rendah yang tidak dijaga dengan baik dengan rumah yang pemiliknya berbangga dengan rumahnya. Dan saya yakin, jika setiap keluarga memiliki rumah, negara kita ini akan stabil dan makmur.”

“Saya melihat pengundi terutama di kawasan bandar menentang kerajaan dan saya yakin sepatutnya penghuni rumah menjadi pemilik rumah, dan jika tidak kita tidak akan mengecap kestabilan politik.”

“Matlamat penting saya antara lainnya adalah untuk memberi ‘ekuiti’ terhadap ibu bapa kepada anak-anak lelaki yang berkhidmat di dalam program Khidmat Negara, untuk mempertahankan Singapura. Jika keluarga askar kita tidak memiliki rumah, dia akan berpendapat bahawa dia hanya berjuang mempertahankan kekayaan orang kaya sahaja. Saya percaya perasaan memiliki ini (pemilikan rumah) adalah asas penting dalam masyarakat baru kita yang tidak ada dalam sejarah yang lain.” (Nota: semua pemuda lelaki Singapura wajib menjalani Khidmat Negara).

Polisi perumahan Singapura ini adalah berteraskan aspek berikut:

1. Perumahan sebagai asas kestabilan
2. Mampu milik kepada semua
3. Sekuriti kewangan dan kecukupan ketika pencen
4. Mencapai aspirasi: kualiti dan kepelbagaian
5. Memupuk sifat kekeluargaan yang kuat dan integrasi sosial

Boleh baca lanjut di sini – LKYSchool of Public Policy.

Secara amnya, polisi perumahan Singapura bukan hanya untuk rakyat miskin tetapi untuk semua rakyat sebagai aspek penting dalam menjaga kestabilan negara.

Jenis-jenis flat HDB dan julat harga

Harga bergantung kepada lokasi dan saiz. Secara ringkas, rumah 3 bilik + 1 stor/ bilik kebal (yup, ada bilik kebal kalau kena bom!) dalam julat harga RM250K- RM400K bergantung kepada lokasi.

Gaji graduan sana sama seperti Malaysia (tidak mengambil faktor tukaran mata wang), bermula dari lingkungan SGD2500.

Dan kalau ikut gaji setempat dibandingkan dengan harga rumah mereka, memang sangat mampu untuk beli terutamanya bila kelayakan pembelian lebih diutamakan kepada pasangan berkahwin.

Atas sebab itulah saya pelik bagaimana sepupu saya muda-muda lagi boleh beli rumah.

Konsep Pembinaan Flat HDB

Singapura kan ciput je, sudah tentulah mereka tidak mampu sediakan rumah bertanah. Jadi, flat HDB mereka adalah rumah apartmen.

Biasanya flat HDB didirikan sebagai komuniti satelit yang dibina lengkap dengan kemudahan asas.

Dalam satu komuniti flat HDB, akan turut disediakan sekolah, kemudahan sukan dan riadah, kedai runcit, pusat ibadat , medan selera dan lain-lain kemudahan.

Di setiap apartmen, aras paling bawah dipanggil void space. Ianya adalah ruang komuniti. Tidak ada rumah di aras bawah.

Kalau di sana , saudara mara saya panggil tempat itu kolong. Kolong ini sengaja dibina sebagai ruang untuk komuniti berintegrasi. Ianya boleh diguna dengan izin oleh penduduk sama ada untuk tujuan perkahwinan, kematian dan keramaian.

Di sini saya bawakan gambar flat HDB yang ada.

Apa yang saya faham mengenai polisi perumahan Singapura

Setiap keluarga hanya boleh beli satu sahaja flat HDB.

Satu keluarga hanya boleh memiliki SATU SAHAJA rumah HDB. Tak boleh lebih. Nak beli rumah lain boleh? Boleh beli rumah persendirian iaitu rumah swasta.

Ada had pendapatan untuk pembelian HDB flat?

Ada. Rujuk gambar.

Ada keutamaan kepada golongan tertentu?

Ada. Keutamaan diberikan kepada mereka yang sudah berkahwin dan belum mempunyai rumah lagi.

Selain daripada itu ada banyak lagi sebab anda diberikan keutamaan dan bukan hanya disebabkan pendapatan sahaja.

Tetapi atas sebab keadaan keluarga. Ianya lebih memberikan fokus kepada keadaan keluarga pembeli. Boleh rujuk gambar.

Apa kelayakan am untuk beli rumah HDB?

Rujuk gambar. Secara am, sama sahaja macam rumah di bawah skim kerajaan.

Insentif kerajaan Singapura memudahkan pembelian rumah

Macam Malaysia mereka boleh keluarkan sebahagian CPF (di Malaysia, EPF) untuk membeli rumah. Selain itu ada beberapa diskaun lagi diberi bergantung pada pakej.

Nak tahu lanjut, boleh baca di http://www.hdb.gov.sg/

Sebenarnya, apa yang dibuat oleh kerajaan Singapura adalah menekankan aspek pemilikan rumah. Bagi mereka, terutama parti pemerintah, mereka boleh kalah pilihanraya jika rakyat marah tentang isu pemilikan rumah.

Polisi pemilikan rumah mereka menjaga hak rakyat untuk memilik rumah dan kerajaan sendiri yang mengawal harga rumah.

Apa yang baik daripada polisi ini?

1. Kawalan harga rumah

Rumah HDB dikawal kerajaan. Harganya terkawal. 80% penduduk Singapura tinggal di perumahan HDB.

2. Kawalan pemilikan rumah

Setiap keluarga cuma boleh ada satu sahaja rumah. Jika nak lebih beli dari pemaju swasta yang harganya mahal dan rumahnya mewah. Jadi tak timbul isu rumah dibeli oleh pelabur secara berjemaah dan menzalimi rakyat marhaeeeeeeeeennnnnn (saja tulis macam ni.)

3. Integrasi rakyat

Antara tujuan asas polisi HDB dirangka adalah untuk membina integrasi. Maksudnya dalam satu komuniti, peratusan penduduk mengikut etnik dikawal supaya setiap kaum bercampur dan seimbang. Sebenarnya, kalau dilihat dari sudut lain, ianya juga adalah cara untuk mengawal pengundi.

4. Kemudahan yang sempurna.

Flat HDB dibina mengikut konsep komuniti satelit. Maksudnya dalam satu komuniti HDB mesti lengkap segala kemudahan asas agar tidak sesak dan serabut.

Macam saya cakap tadi, rumah HDB bukan untuk orang miskin sahaja. Tujuannya untuk memberikan perumahan sempurna mampu milik kepada setiap rakyat. Sebagai contoh, rumah sepupu saya kalau di Malaysia adalah setaraf kondo! Lengkap dengan kemudahan setempat dan workmanship yang baik!

5. Menjaga aspek sosial

Salah satu aspek polisi HDB sebenarnya adalah untuk menjaga aspek sosial masyarakat. Contohnya skim 3 generasi adalah khas untuk keluarga yang ada atuk-nenek, ibu ayah dan cucu tinggal serumah.

Rumah HDB jenis ini diberi 2 buah bilik tidur utama dan bersaiz lebih besar. Kenapa? Kerana tujuannya supaya anak-anak menjaga mak ayah mereka!

Perkara Lain Yang Tidak Diambil Kira Tetapi Sangat Penting

1. Singapura ciput je saiz dia.

Ini hujah biasa. Sudah tentu Malaysia lebih besar. Singapura ini lebih sikit je dari Melaka. Sudah tentu Singapura ini ibarat bandar sahaja. Bukannya negara yang besar pun dah lebih mudah untuk membangunkan negara yang bersaiz kecil.

2. Rakyat Singapura tak ramai

Malaysia 30 juta orang bhai. Singapura dalam 5 juta lebih je.

3. GST mereka mahal. Cukai mahal.

Tak silap GST 7%. Tetapi GST mereka banyak dapat balik.

4. Banyak gile nak kena bayar. Macam-macam bayaran ada.

Tempat letak kereta di rumah sendiri pun pakai kupon parking derr.

5. Sistem pengangkutan yang bagus

Sistem pengangkutan punya superb tak payah ada kereta. Jadi tak perlu pun guna gaji guna kereta dan boleh ada simpanan lebih untuk beli rumah.

Dan banyak lagi hujah-hujah lain kita boleh hamburkan.

Apa Malaysia Boleh Belajar

Sekarang ini, masalah perumahan mampu milik betul-betul menghantui rakyat bandar. Rakyat di kampung mungkin kurang terasa sedikit.
Tetapi mereka yang duduk di bandar sangat terasa.

Bukan nak kata apa kerajaan buat sekarang tak baik. Tapi boleh diperbaiki lagi.

Harga rumah di kawasan bandar besar contohnya di Lembah Kelang kadang-kadang tak masuk akal!

Betul, kerajaan ada buat rumah-rumah skim kerajaan seperti PR1MA dan lain-lain. Tetapi jumlah yang ada adalah sedikit berbanding permintaan yang ada. Tanah pula harganya mahal dan ada tanah-tanah yang dimiliki agensi kerajaan dijual kepada pemaju untuk dimajukan.

Di Singapura, Akta Pengambilan Tanah diperkenalkan di mana kerajaan berhak mengambil tanah kerajaan yang ada untuk dimajukan menjadi rumah HDB. Jadi tanah yang ada adalah murah maka mereka boleh menjual kepada rakyat dengan harga lebih murah daripada pasaran!

Tapi, apa pun, kerajaan pun janganlah ingat mereka ni pemaju perumahan. Mengira pada jumlah untung.

Keuntungan itu wajib ada tapi untuk biaya pengurusan. Bukan mengambil langkah seperti pemaju swasta pula. Itulah sebab orang tengok tak ada beza pun harga rumah PR1MA dengan rumah pemaju swasta.

Jadi, cadangannya adalah.

1. Agensi kerajaan yang memiliki tanah yang luas dilarang menjual tanah tersebut kepada pemaju swasta.

Tak kisahlah mana-mana agensi, Baitulmal ke, Zakat ke, Polis ke, atau lain-lain, ada yang memiliki tanah dan kadang-kadang di kawasan-kawasan utama.

Dari segi keuntungan, amatlah berbaloi untuk diberikan kepada swasta. Dan kenapa harga rumah mahal adalah kerana tanah itu mahal.

Tetapi jika agensi kerajaan mahu jualkan pun, perlu ditukarkan dengan nilai sama rata di kawasan penempatan utama. Boleh dapat tanah yang luas dan lebih banyak rumah boleh dibina.

Apabila tanah dapat diperolehi pada harga lebih murah, maka lebih banyak rumah dapat dibina pada harga berpatutan.

Tanah-tanah itu tadi perlu diletakkan di bawah kawal selia Kementerian Perumahan dan dibangunkan oleh SPNB sahaja.

Kesemua bank-bank tanah disatukan dan diletakkan di bawah satu badan. Contohnya, tanah milik Zakat, atau MARA, wajib diletakkan di bawah seliaan Kementerian Perumahan.

2. Kawalan ketat terhadap permohonan rumah kerajaan.

Berikan keutamaan kepada mereka yang sudah berkahwin dan mempunyai anak untuk memiliki rumah. Sebuah keluarga tidak boleh memiliki lebih daripa sebuah rumah kerajaan.

Wujudkan jabatan audit khas untuk memantau pemilikan tanah kerajaan dan pembinaan serta pemilikan rumah kerajaan.

Audit wajib ada supaya ketelusan dalam pengurusan dapat dijamin.

Tidaklah nanti berbunyi pengarah ini ada rumah sekian-sekian banyak padahal tidak layak pun. Orang sebegitu sewajarnya diikat masuk guni dan di campak ke dalam Sungai Kelang je.

3. Untuk meminimumkan kos, boleh laksanakan skim built-to-order.

Sebenarnya sekarang pun sudah ada.

Tetapi mungkin boleh ditambah baik di mana unit-unit rumah dijual dahulu sehingga 70%-80% sebelum mula dibina.

Maka kos permulaan untuk kerajaan keluarkan menjadi kurang kerana sudah dibiayai oleh bank. Aspek teknikalnya boleh dibincang dengan orang lebih pakar.

4. Mudahkan proses pembelian dan pinjaman.

Mudahkan pembelian dan tidak seketat bank. Mudahkan juga pada bahagian bayaran muka dan sebagainya.

Selain daripada langkah-langkah ini banyak lagi cadangan lain boleh dibuat contohnya, perbanyakkan rumah di kawasan yang mempunyai jaringan pengangkutan supaya pembeli tidak perlu memiliki kereta.

Penutup

Ini apa yang saya lihat dan baca serta kaji. Sudah tentu keadaan di Malaysia tidak sama berbanding Singapura.

Sudah tentu kita boleh mengatakan rakyat Malaysia bukan hanya di bandar sahaja. Betul. Saya tidak naïf. Tetapi banyak penambahbaikan yang boleh dibuat jika kita melihat aspek yang boleh digunapakai di sana.

Saya fikir, jika kerajaan sendiri melalui agensi-agensi yang bernaung di bawahnya serta melalui polisi serta akta yang di kawal ketat, rumah mampu milik yang selesa boleh disediakan kepada rakyat dalam jumlah yang sesuai, dan akhirnya, saya yakin, harga pasaran hartanah juga akan jatuh.

Apabila 40%-50% rumah di Lembah Klang adalah daripada projek kerajaan, dengan harga yang mampu milik, sudah pasti permintaan kepada projek perumahan swasta yang tak masuk akal harganya akan terganggu. Ini akan memaksa pemaju untuk bersaing pula dengan harga yang ditawarkan kerajaan.

Dan jika mereka tidak bersaing pun, mereka boleh saja terus membina rumah pada harga mewah kerana segmen pasaran mereka adalah untuk golongan tersebut, tanpa menjejaskan pun permintaan rumah mampu milik oleh rakyat yang lain.

Semoga tulisan saya yang panjang ini memberi impak dan kebaikan untuk Malaysia.

Source: TheVoket (26th April 2017)

An honest look in the mirror for Malay(sian) Muslims

By: Nadia Jalil

Malaysian Muslims should struggle against anything in Malaysian culture which does not protect dignity and equality of human being.” — Tariq Ramadan, Kuala Lumpur, January 2015

Looking at developments in the US, I think there are few Muslims who would be unmoved by the large-scale protests against the #MuslimBan there. I wonder, though, how many of us Malay Muslims who have felt touched and inspired by the sight of non-Muslims in a “non-Muslim country” defending Muslims against oppression, felt a twinge of guilt at the fact that we have been complicit in, if not active participants of, oppression in our own country.

Quite apart from the “special position” of Islam in Malaysia, which has been used to exert a kind of dominion over members of other faiths—from the major, such as the illegal expropriation of Orang Asli lands in Kelantan and elsewhere, to regular microaggressions like calls to boycott businesses owned by non-Muslims—it has now become very obvious that we have a very sick society.

Malay culture has become one of judgement over mercy. We have abandoned the precepts of hikmah in da’wah and adab when we indulge in amar ma’ruf nahi munkar (enjoining good and forbidding evil). Indeed, more often than not, we relish in public undertakings of nahi munkar and barely enjoin good at all. Social media may not be a perfect yardstick, but given that Malaysians are one of the most active users of social media in the world, it’s a pretty reliable measure of social attitudes. Observe, for instance, the public shaming that occurs when a Malay(sian) Muslim is judged to have strayed from accepted mores, particularly in cases where women do not follow conventions in terms of dress.

This behaviour is tied to a development that goes unnoticed in our communities: rampant misogyny. Universities host “cover your aurat” week in which women who do not don the hijab are shamed and harassed, sometimes physically. While a lot of the conversations surrounding the return of a deported serial rapist have centred on safety concerns, another, more worrying, trend is Malay men indulging in victim-shaming—informing women that if they wish to be safe, they should police their dressing and their behaviour. At the extreme end some have wished that the serial rapist would rape women who do not police themselves. We have movies that turn rapists into heroes, and cases where rape survivors have been forced to marry their rapists, a ‘solution’ that is condoned by the community.

This misogyny seems to be founded on a culture of patriarchy that has been given an Islamist sheen. In official and unofficial sermons, women are constantly told that we must be subservient to men, that the one and only way to heaven is by serving the men in our lives, whether they are our husbands, our fathers or our brothers. Exposure to this male chauvinism starts from a young age: in mixed-gender schools, boys are encouraged to be leaders, girls their followers. By contrast, we don’t teach our boys that men, too, have duties and responsibilities to their wives, mothers, and sisters.

Al-Tirmidhi Hadith 3252 Narrated by Aisha ; Abdullah ibn Abbas Allah’s Messenger (saws) said, “The best of you is he who is best to his family, and I am the best among you to my family.” 

This attitude stands in stark contrast to the fact that Islam is a religion for which the last Messenger’s (PBUH) first wife was a successful businesswoman and his employer, while another is widely acknowledged as one of the major narrators of hadith, for whom it is said, “the implications of her actions for women’s participation in scholarship, political life, and the public sphere clashed with later conservative conceptions of the role of women”.[1] Indeed, Islam revolutionised the role of women in 7th century Arabia: where once women were thought of as nothing more than chattel and female infanticide common, Islam proclaimed that they were equal to men in God’s eyes.

Misogyny, in combination with a repressive and perverse attitude towards sexuality, has contributed to Malays having the highest rates of incest, rape, and unwed pregnancies. There has been no recognition that this is the direct result of a patriarchal and misogynistic culture that objectifies women, in addition to a refusal to educate children on sexual health and reproductive rights. Rather, proposed solutions again tend to focus on victim shaming and increasingly punitive measures.

We have now become a people who emphasise religiosity over spirituality, good deeds and good conduct; obsessed over the trivial and ritualistic. We are constantly preoccupied by perceived incursions into our ‘rights’ by non-Muslims, and this siege mentality permeates our interactions with them: a clearly non-Halal pork burger restaurant gives one of its dishes a traditionally Malay name, and we are up in arms, claiming it an insult to our religion.

Where, then, are similarly vociferous outcries in matters of grave injustice? We police outward shows of religiosity—what we eat and what we wear, and demand that our rights supersede those of others, always. As citizens of a multicultural country we ignore the rights of others and public interest (maslahah) in order to chase “religious points”. We stand quietly by as an Islamist State government destroys Temiar lands and punishes members of the tribe who are protecting their homes and trying to stop the environmental devastation that occurs through excessive logging.

We don’t question massive embezzlement of public funds, even when we know that those funds are used to finance people going for Haj and Umrah—which seems to me a very perverse way of “spiritual money laundering”. We allow for the fact that many of our mosques are not sanctuaries but places where the most vulnerable amongst us are turned away.

Our preoccupation with religiosity is aided and abetted by an institutionalised religious infrastructure that infantilises Muslims by claiming that only it can “defend the honour of our faith” and “protect Muslims from becoming confused”. We are constantly told that only the official way is religiously acceptable, even if some rulings rely on a narrow and highly literal interpretation of Scripture. Any form of questioning, however slight, or criticism, however valid, is automatically labelled deviant, and an attack on Islam. In addition, we have a moral police that has been known to harass suspects to the point of causing death—how is this following the precepts of ‘adab?

The fact that Islam in Malaysia is now represented by moral policing, religious bigotry and misogyny has contributed to resentment among non-Muslims, giving rise to Islamophobia. Many non-Muslims lauded Trump for his anti-Muslim views because they have been presented and oppressed by this narrow, intolerant and sometimes, absolutely distorted version of Islam their whole lives.

There are other challenges, but the final one I would like to put forth is the rise in violent extremism. According to IMAN Research, as at August 2016, 236 Malaysians have been arrested by the authorities for joining ISIS, including a 14-year-old girl.[2] This is not surprising, given the fetishising of violent jihad above all other types of jihad, not only in some Madrasahs, but in ‘mainstream’ environments as well. In addition to that, official efforts by the establishment to counter violent extremism contrasts jarringly with domestic bigotry that continuously otherises those in the minority.

I highly suspect that part of this behaviour is due to the heavily politicised nature of Islam in this country, where Umno and PAS regularly try to “out-Islam” the other, and all other political parties have to play along with this narrative. Thus has our faith been hijacked by rank politics and conflated with the bigoted ideology of Malay supremacy.

Of course, it can be argued that these are generalisations, and “not all Muslims” subscribe to these behaviours and have these views. I emphasise again that these are norms, in the sense that we have become desensitised to them and, apart from the statements made by more temperate Muslim organisations and our own private protestations, they continue on, generally unremarked and tolerated, if not accepted.

I am not at all questioning the position of Islam as the official religion of this country. Instead, what I am calling for is the end of this distorted misrepresentation of our faith. As those who are privileged to be in the majority, we have a duty to end oppressions committed in the name of Islam.

I fully realise that I am preaching to the choir in an amplified echo chamber. However, ours is a more dissonant than harmonised, whereas those promoting a narrow and intolerant Islam far removed from the vibrancy and openness of the Muslim civilisations which continue to be our inspirations—of the Abbasids, Umayyads and Cordoba—are concentrated and organised. We have let this go on for far too long. If you care for an Islam in Malaysia that is representative of our faith’s beauty, ideals of justice, and rahmah, I submit that we have to act now.

Firstly, we need to arm ourselves with knowledge. Of Islam, of other faiths, of socio-political and economic developments. Knowledge is, as always, power. If you choose to be devout, as Tariq Ramadhan, the Professor of Contemporary Islamic Studies at Oxford University, has exhorted, “(i)f you want to be good Muslims, instead of preventing people from believing, you become better believers. Don’t be scared of people who are not Muslim. Be scared, be afraid, be worried about our own lack of consistency.”[3] 

Secondly, we need to strengthen our own communities, and get organised. We need to overcome petty disagreements surrounding minute differences in opinion and support those organisations that are already working to promote a tolerant Islam that fights oppression. We need to form alliances, and yes, we need to go beyond the echo chamber.

Finally, we need to act against oppressions conducted in our name. Loudly speak out and strongly act against bigotry, fight for the vulnerable and marginalised, insist that our mosques are opened as sanctuaries, promote Islam as it truly is.

We need to get to work.

*This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail Online.

[1] ‘15 Most Important Muslim Women in History’, https://ballandalus.wordpress.com/2014/03/08/15- important-muslim-women-in-history/ extracted on 10 February 2017.

[2] ‘The Allure of ISIS’, IMAN Research August 2016, https://issuu.com/theaffair/docs/newsletter- isis_1_aug2016 extracted on 10 February 2017.

[3] “Look in the mirror, Muslim don tells Malaysians critical of Western discrimination”, The Malay Mail Online, 1 February 2015, http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/look-in-the-mirror-muslim-don-tells- malaysians-critical-of-western-discrimi#sthash.lwflqwTZ.dpuf

 

Source: MalayMailOnline (11th February 2017)

Millennials: Four main reasons for Gen Y’s unhappiness

WERE you born after 1983?

Congratulations, you’re a millennial. Now here’s a quick loving guide to everything that’s wrong with you.

An Inside Quest interview with renowned author and motivational speaker Simon Sinek has gone viral thanks to his insights on Gen Y.

In the 15-minute segment, he covers everything from social media to flawed parenting in summarising the newer generation’s problems.

“Apparently millennials are tough to manage and they’re accused of being entitled and narcissistic and self-interested, unfocused and lazy,” he says.

“But entitled is the big one. Because they confound leaders so much, what’s happening is leaders are asking the millennials, ‘What do you want?’ and millennials are saying, ‘We want to work in a place with purpose’. Love that!

“’We want to make an impact’ — whatever that means. We want free food and beanbags. Somebody articulates some sort of purpose, there’s lots of free food and beanbags and yet for some reason they’re still not happy. That’s because there’s a missing piece.”

Mr Sinek goes on to outline four main reasons for Gen Y’s unhappiness: poor parenting, social media, impatience and environment.

On poor parenting, he says that “too many” young people were brought up being told they were special and could do anything they wanted to.

“Some of them got into Honours Classes not because they deserved it but because their parents complained. Some of them got A’s, not because they earned them, but because the teachers didn’t want to deal with the parents. Some kids got participation medals for coming in last.

“The science we know is pretty clear — it devalues the medal and reward for those who actually work hard and it actually makes the person who comes in last feel embarrassed because they know they didn’t deserve it. So it actually makes them feel worse.”

He added: “They’re thrust in the real world and in an instant they find out they’re not special, their mums can’t get them a promotion, that you get nothing for coming in last and by the way you can’t just have it because you want it. In an instant their entire self-image is shattered. So you have an entire generation that is growing up with lower self-esteem than previous generations.”

Mr Sinek compares our addiction to technology to alcoholism, noting that engaging with technology triggers dopamine, the feel-good receptors in the brain, just as booze, gambling or eating food does.

He explains that — thanks to platforms like Facebook and Instagram — young people are increasingly used to “filtering” their lives and presenting only their best “self” at the expense of reality.

Therefore, when they actually enter the real world, they’re dealt a sharp shock when they realise you can’t exactly chuck a Valencia filter on your career.

“The reality is there’s very little toughness and most people don’t have it figured out,” he says. “So when the more senior people say, ‘What shall we do?”, They sound like, ‘This is what you gotta do’ and they have no clue!”

Likewise, he points out that technology has created a generation that needs instant gratification. They might be in a job for eight months and then question why they’re not making an “impact”.

“Too many kids don’t know how to form deep, meaningful relationships…they have fun with their friends but they also know that their friends will cancel on them if something better comes along. Deep meaningful relationships are not there because they never practised the skillset and worse they don’t have the coping mechanisms to deal with stress.”

He says this even extends to sex: “You want to go on a date. You don’t even have to learn how to be like, ‘Hey…’ You don’t have to be the uncomfortable one who says ‘Yes’ when you mean ‘No’ and ‘No’ when you mean ‘Yes.’ Swipe right. Bang! I’m a stud!…everything you want you can have instantaneously, everything you want — instant gratification.

“Except job satisfaction and strength of relationships. There ain’t no app for that. There is slow, meandering, uncomfortable, messy processes.”

So, what’s the big solution? Mr Sinek calls for young people to lower their smartphone usage and take a more long-term view on life.

Don’t keep your phone on your desk in a meeting, face-up or face-down. Charge it in your living room, not by your bed while you sleep at night. Engage with the people around you, don’t sit there texting your friends.

The alternative, he says, is pretty damn bleak.

“The best case scenario is you’ll have an entire population growing up and going through life and just never really finding joy. They’ll never really find deep fulfilment in work or life.”

He does at least acknowledge it’s not their fault.

“They blame themselves… but it’s not them. It’s the total lack of good leadership in our world today that is making them feel the way they do.”

Source: news.com.au (6th January 2016)