Friday, October 12, 2007

Of Eid, Man in Space and Millions More on the Ground

A Kadir Jasin

[Anonymous comments will not be posted. Please use your real name or a suitable pseudonym. Please avoid seditious, defamatory and libellous statements. And, if possible, don’t call anybody bodoh (stupid). Unrelated comments will not be given priority.]

FOR the Muslims – the practicing ones in particular, this is a time for joy and celebration.

The fasting month of Ramadan is drawing to a close and the Eid Mubarak – the blessed festival -- is coming.

Having almost completed a month of dawn to dusk fasting, the Eid is the time to rejoice and to thank Allah for his bounty.

So on this happy occasion, I humbly take the opportunity to wish each and every Muslim Eid Mubarak, and, in the Malaysian way, to seek forgiveness – maaf zahir dan batin.

To the non-Muslim fellow Malaysians, wherever they are, happy holiday. My few visits to the Pasar Ramadan – the Ramadan Market – gave the impression that many non-Muslims were as busy shopping for food and drinks for their brand of “berbuka” – breakfasting.

And if we want to be patriotic, we can add to the celebration our sense of achievement for having the first Malaysian -- Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor – orbiting the earth.

His ride to the outer space aboard the Russian Soyuz spacecraft is another milestone in our country’s history that we can all be proud of.

Although Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor is neither Yuri Gagarin nor Neil Armstrong, still he is among the lucky few of the world’s 6.6 billion people to be liberated from the gravity of mother earth.

As of October 4, 2007, only 463 humans from 34 countries -- 415 men and 48 women – had reached low earth orbit (up to 2,000 kilometres) or beyond.

Though it took us 46 years after the Soviet Gagarin became the first human to go to the space, we can be proud that we now have one of our own people out there in the blue yonder.

What many in our “mudah lupa” crowd may not remember or may not realise is the fact that the Oct. 10 event was the culmination of an idea that had its origin in Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s maiden visit to Russia (then the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics –USSR) in the mid-1980’s.

It was during the visit the famous Star City, the home of Russia’s Cosmonaut training facility to the northeast of Moscow (now known as the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre), that Dr Mahathir though of the idea of sending a Malaysian to the space.

It was also as a result of that visit that Malaysia started to evaluate and subsequently bought Russian jet fighters – the MiG 29 Fulcrum and Sukhoi Su-30 Flanker.

But having sent a Malaysia to space and basking briefly in the glory of it, we must, as always, get back to the real world – the world of real people.

The world of the struggling farmers, fishermen, factory and office workers, small traders, taxi drivers, Tsunami and flood victims, single mothers, the sick and the destitute, the jobless and the unemployable.

There nothing wrong in sending one or more Malaysians to the space or having a month-long colourful 50th independent anniversary, scaling the Himalayas, walking across the poles, swimming the seas and sailing the oceans.

These and other magnificent feats are the manifestation of the Malaysia Boleh (Malaysia Can) spirit.

In the final analysis, however, it is the bread-and-butter issues such as the rising cost of living, the widening income gap, the falling rate of job creation, the rising rate of crime and the growing rate of drug addiction that matter.

Pardon me if I accidentally puncture your balloon and spoil your party.

Update, Oct. 13

AND we shall not forget the man in the IJN. He does not forget us. The following is his Hari Raya message to us (courtesy of blogger RantingsbyMM):

"Saya dan isteri saya mengucapkan Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri, Maaf Zahir Batin kepada semua rakyat Malaysia, khususnya kepada yang beragama Islam.

Saya minta maaf kerana pada tahun ini saya tidak dapat merayakan Aidilfitri bersama-sama dengan mengadakan rumah terbuka seperti biasa.

Saya juga ingin meminta maaf kerana tidak dapat menerima pelawat sepanjang berada di Institut Jantung Negara atas nasihat doktor.

Bagaimanapun, saya dan isteri saya ingin mengambil kesempatan ini untuk mengucapkan terima kasih kepada semua yang telah mendoakan kesihatan saya agar cepat pulih.

Kami berdua juga ingin menyampaikan penghargaan kepada semua yang telah menghantar ucapan selamat, yang telah mengadakan solat hajat serta majlis doa selamat untuk kesihatan saya.

Alhamdulillah keadaan kesihatan saya bertambah baik berkat doa yang dipohon serta usaha yang dilakukan semua doktor pakar yang terlibat serta staf-staf perubatan IJN.

Di sini saya dan isteri saya juga merakamkan ucapan terima kasih serta penghargaan kami kepada kesemua mereka yang telah berkorban masa dan tenaga sepanjang bulan Ramadhan untuk berusaha memulihkan kesihatan saya.

Tidak mungkin kami dapat membalas segala usaha ini. Namun saya dan isteri sentiasa berdoa agar semua yang dilakukan dibalas dengan keberkatan dan dirahmati Allah s.w.t.

Sekali lagi saya dan isteri saya mengucapkan Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri, Maaf Zahir Batin.

Dr Mahathir bin Mohamad
Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali
1 Syawal 1428 Hijrah."


Rockybru said...

Selamat Hari Raya, Maaf Zahir Batin, the Scribe.

It's a Ramadan that will be remembered for miracles and the most tragic of tragedies that affect Malaysians.

The miracle that is IJN, for one. I was assigned to cover the groundbreaking ceremony for the IJN back in the late 80s. It was officiated by Dr Mahathir -- one of his "mega" Malaysia Boleh projects. How the IJN has benefited us today. And this Ramadan, how the skills of our surgeons, the quality of our facilities, and the prayers of the people kept the former PM with us.

The brave girl, Tee Hui Yi, and the two who died so that she could have the heart transplant to enable her to live a normal life.

A Malaysian in space.

It is also a Ramadan that gripped hard at our conscience as parents and Malaysians, after one of our children, Nurin, was abducted and killed in a most brutal and tragic way. We have failed her, her siblings, and her parents.

I am sorry, too, for puncturing the anyone's Eid balloon. Go and visit one another tomorrow in that new baju melayu. Take care of your kids. And when you come back from the Raya holidays, let's join some parents intent that we will never again fail another kid as we failed Nurin.

Support the Citizens for Nurin Alert initiative.

Thank you.

Berita dari gunung said...

Raya will come and believe it or not, the unfortunate ones too will celebrate and rejoice the blessing of God.

Scale will differ of course, as we talk about celebrating Raya along the spectrum of Malaysian society. The rich on one end and the poor on the other.

Bringing in imported humans will sound good, only if there is no real poverty back here. Someone would argue that poverty is relative and therefore pioneer status to humans importer should stay.

Import and Export business is always lucrative. So is this human business. P Ramlee found this interesting too as he captured the culture of human auction on his silver screen.

As if to reinforce that job is abundant here, Radzi hinted on bring in more and enlarge the breed or brand selection.

As of late, some human cargo are abandoned at airports while some are thrown out at sea... its cheap hence cheap labour.

Effort should be made to liberalise Malaysia out of this ugly side of human-import-over-dependence.

With Muzaffar breaking out of gravitational chain on the eve of eid, i believe so can we, Malaysians on the issue of human-import-over-dependence. or have we lost creativity over business. Mind you,negaraku has lost sovereinity over the centuries, many times over.

I guess being less patriotic is very much safer to continue living in this part of the world..... where whats professed differ from whats done.

Of course, Selamat hari Raya to all, the unfortunates and the fortunates, the local and imported humans.

Alliedmartster said...

Dato AKJ,
Can't agree with you more.
Funny how only some of us can see this, whereas our administrators are busy with their corridors, bridges and skyscrapers!

Selamat Hari Raya to you and your loved ones!

Twinkle said...

Selamat Hari Raya to all Muslim in Malaysia. As for us, non- Muslim, another 'cuti' for us to relax. And maybe visiting our Muslim friends.

A Voice said...

Ramadhan memberi kesedaran
Syawal itu kejayaan.
Tahniah, itu ucapan perayaan.
Perjuangan ramadhan tiada akhiran.

Selamat hari raya to all. Maaf zahir batin.

Anonymous said...

Selamat Hari Raya, Maaf Zahir Batin, Dato.
I agree. After the space euphoria, kita renung seketika insan-insan di driver, buruh kasar, petani, nelayan, penoreh getah...

Maswafi Abd Samat said...


Menjelajahi angkasa suatu keperluan tetapi saya sedih bila mendengar di Radio Era masih ada orang Melayu yang terpaksa makan kangkung bersama telur rebus di Aidilfitri yang lepas!

Selamat Hari Raya!

ewoon said...

Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri to you and family, Dato.

May God bless you. Enjoy the season.

the indie story said...

Salam alaik! Dato' Kadir yang dikasihi...

Rasanya masih belum terlambat untuk mengucapkan sesuatu...

Sempena dimalam raya yang indah ini, saya secara peribadi serta bagi pihak rakan2 yang lain ingin mengucapkan Selamat Hari Lebaran kepada Dato' Kadir (mentor saya dialam cyber) dan famili.

semoga kedatangan Syawal yang mulia ini akan menjadi satu detik pengukuhan kembali semangat untuk Dato' Kadir terus menerus berkarya, mengulas dan mengupas dengan lebih bagus.

maaf zahir dan batin.

Dengan ingatan tulus penuh kasih,

Mr Moderator,
Bro' Anwar Arabi,
Sister Layla,
Brother Amer,
serta rakan2 yang lain...

cre8tif said...


wishing you a selamat hari raya to you and your loved/closed ones and to all Muslim reader of the Scribe,

Pardon has been granted as the baloons of the party has already being long punctured.

If many readers do recalled of the sentiments at home, I feel for the poor as I relate the sigh/disappointment of one of my fellow Muslim/non-Muslim colleagues during this Raya.

Being a parent of few kids, this colleague of mine lamented that no matter how grandeur it is to turn the whole event to be remembered as the day a malaysian is being sent to space, it cannot be fathom as to why cost of living / essentials could not be maintained for the benefits of the citizens whereas the priority has always been misplaced in such an expensive exercise.

Not that I am ridiculing Dr. Syeikh's proud achievement here but without an equal placement/emphasis of the same to be looked at the rakyat's plight with the rise of the cost of living/etc, I feel that it is no different than the case of buying RMxxx million of fireworks and set it alight.

No matter how beautiful or alluring it is to ponder over such an event, the fact remains that our achivement in space is only very much short-lived if this is a one-off expensive exercise.

The pivotal achievement of mankind in science is not as a a result of a day's work but a culmination of a long-period of hardwork.

Then there is always the niggling issues of when the next announcment of toll-hike/petrol-hike will take effect ?

To sum it up, in wishing all our Muslims friends of a long and endured culmination of month-long fasting and abstinance from the various *enticements*, I wish you all a resounding greeting of Selamat Hari Raya. I am sure that there is a good religious reason as to why the Prophet has mandated the period of month-long fasting to be a month and not a day's instead.

Anonymous said...

The Scribe,

Izinkan saya mengucapkan Selamat Hari Raya dan Maaf Zahir Batin.

Samuel Goh Kim Eng said...

Here's wishing all Muslims everywhere a "Selamat Hari Raya"!

Here's hoping every blogger will join in to blog on THE ENVIRONMENT as an issue on Mon. 15th Oct. 2007 as organised by

Samuel Goh Kim Eng
Sat.13th Oct. 2007

Anonymous said...

Dear Datuk and Family

Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri
Maaf Zahir dan Batin

Doa saya supaya Datuk teruskan perjuangan menerusi tulisan.

pembaca setia the scribe
Nani and Michael
Big Apple

About Me

My photo
I was born in 1947 in Kedah. I came from a rice farming family. I have been a journalist since 1969. I am the Editor-in-Chief of magazine publishing company, Berita Publishing Sdn Bhd. I was Group Editor NST Sdn Bhd and Group Editor-in-Chief of NSTP Bhd between 1988 and 2000. I write fortnightly column “Other Thots” in the Malaysian Business magazine, Kunta Kinte Original in Berita Harian and A Kadir Jasin Bercerita in Dewan Masyarakat. Books: Biar Putih Tulang (1998), Other Thots – Opinions & Observations 1992-2001 (2001), The Wings of an Eagle (2003), Mencari Dugalia Huso (2006), Damned That Thots (2006), Blogger (2006), PRU 2008-Rakyat Sahut Cabaran (2008), Komedi & Tragedi-Latest in Contemporary Malaysian Politics (2009) and Membangun Bangsa dengan Pena (2009).