A Tale To Tell & Remember

I'm very much inspired by the words of Thomas L. Friedman in his book "The World Is Flat" which renders about the influence of bloggers in this new age. I want to keep the highest integrity and honesty in posting my words to the world. This blog act as a testimony to my alacrity of sharing information with the borderless world. Hope we can share a high regards of veracity and chivalry with this blog because that's why it is here. So help me God!

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Saturday, 30 November 2013

Honesty and sincerity

Teddy in General Santos
I believe the best thing about life is its mysteriousness. We would never see anything coming to our life and can never really tell anything about the possibility of it. Life truly is an exclusivity for the Creator and we are just merely characters playing them role. Not much of a choice either to decide on our future path, it has and solely have been decided by Him up there. By that, I learnt it the hard way, grinding my teeth through series of tests of how helpless I am in deciding my own script of life. Time is still the essence of everything. The most powerful of God's tool. I'm grateful enough to learn and understood the whole process - the most important thing in life is patience and patience truly is a virtue. The next best thing about heading forward is to be patience on any of your life possibilities. Happiness takes time. In life, you can’t change people and you can’t force love. Forcing love will only lead to a very miserable life. Love should and must come in an honest expression of feeling, all the way. You can't even be suggestive to love because love is a true, sincere feeling and it is an act of discovery of ones mutual counterpoint. That's how beautiful love is. Time still is the best remedy and agent of change provided that life is lived with full honesty. As honesty is the most powerful energy of life. At least that is what I believe.

My life is written by God and full of His mystery. I can’t never explain to anyone of how magical my life is because people will never comprehend it. That’s why most of the time, my feeling and my emotions are just being kept deep within me, truly locked not to be disturbed by anyone. My heart and my emotions had become my own exclusivity that only me can have an access to it, moreover to treasure and feel it from time to time. I am an island.

It's funny though that I’m reaching 30 years of age in five more days, I still don’t know what God wants with me and where my life is heading. Them people keep on telling me that He is building and preparing me for something big in the future. I never took it seriously, but I do take that with a little bit of joke and sentimental values of a series of my previous bad luck on a daily basis. Yes I am a sentimentalist and I'm living my life backward. Sometimes my friend asked me to change the yesterday channel, but how can I do that when yesterday was beautiful to me. I can't really tell the destination of where I'm heading next because the next station seems to change as the minute goes by. I’m yet to ascertain my future path as what I really want to do with my life. All I know is that I want to be happy living it within my own self come the moment. I still do enjoy meeting new peoples, seeing places. The respect and love that I get from old folks as if I understand something about them and the marvel of kids that I met clinging to my knees, either the expression of feelings that I made during me singing songs which reminds me of a someone or even an expression of life when I'm dancing to the music played by DJ Honey G. The honesty of life that I lived is the blessed one.

I know some people will say that it is too late to plan on anything now that I'm 30. But that's okay with me. I'm happy with my own way. I love my life despite its shortcoming. For the moment I just make the best out of it. The life decisions that I took so far is not by long term plans (although I did have one before, but not anymore) but by asking the sincerity of my own self in living my life every minute of it. Sometimes the decision breaks my heart, but most of the time it makes me a happy person in the long run. There's a series of gift by God after a hard emotional test too. I'm not complaining. Most of the time I’m fighting against my own self. My worst enemy is my half that loves to plan life for the next 50 years to the small details and my greatest ally is the other half that keeps telling me everything is gonna be alright when the plans doesn't work out. It never works out...


Teddy in Glan, Sarangani Province

That leaves me explaining the conscience and the sincerity of the decision that I took to myself. My life remains a mystery for me and I don’t need to explain about it to anyone. People will never understand it and I'm okay with that. I'm done explaining to people anyway. But those that are close with me loves me and I can feel their honesty and sincerity of loving yours truly. The peoples that I met and the friendship that we built truly are beautiful. They are gorgeous peoples full of life and our story line has been cinematic. Beautiful is the word, at least from how I see the world. I'm living a perfect life and I can't ask for anything more. I’m blessed and I’m thankful to God for it. I hope He will never forsake me. The journey has been really beautiful so far. A second of living a sincere life is worth a thousand years. That's how I will steer my life for the next ten. 


p/s: Raindrops keep on falling on my head, but that doesn't mean my eyes be turning red, crying is not for me.. I'm never gonna stop the rain by complaining, because I'm free.. nuthins worrying me..


Sunday, 17 November 2013

Kesinambungan Perjuangan Nasionalis Melayu di Malaysia

Oleh: Ahmad Syah Ejaz Hj Ismail

Penulis bersama pejuang bangsa Moro di Mindanao

Perjuangan Nasionalisme Melayu di Malaysia

1.         Orang-orang Melayu di Malaysia perlu insaf dan sedar betapa keputusan Pilihanraya Umum ke 13 (PRU 13) yang lalu menunjukkan bahawa kini mereka bersendirian dalam perjuangan mengisi kemerdekaan yang diusahakan oleh nenek moyang mereka. Walaupun pahit untuk diterima namun hakikatnya perjuangan bersifat nasionalisme Melayu telah ditolak oleh kumpulan Chauvinis Cina yang berjaya mempengaruhi orang-orang Cina secara keseluruhan di Malaysia dan ini telah memberikan kesan buruk kepada hubungan Sino-Melayu pada hari ini. Kepercayaan orang-orang Melayu terhadap keikhlasan orang-orang Cina bukan sahaja telah terhakis namun juga telah memberi peringatan keras kepada pemimpin Melayu untuk tidak terlalu bersifat pemurah dalam pelaksanaan dasar outreach kepada orang-orang Cina di Malaysia.

2.         Orang Melayu juga perlu sedar bahawa tindakan dan cubaan rampasan kuasa politik yang dibuat oleh Chauvinis Cina pada PRU 13 yang lalu juga banyak dibantu oleh kumpulan Melayu liberal yang banyak mempengaruhi orang-orang Melayu pasca Dasar Ekonomi Baru (DEB) kononnya nasib sesebuah negara dan bangsa lebih banyak bergantung kepada perjuangan bersifat egalitarian dan kesamarataan hak tanpa mengira perbezaan ras, warna kulit dan agama. Dogma perjuangan yang cuba diterapkan di dalam pemikiran Melayu liberal yang kononnya moden dan progresif ini adalah Malaysia akan menjadi lebih maju dan berjaya sekiranya dasaraffirmative action/ DEB yang dilaksanakan selama ini dimansuhkan dan orang-orang Melayu perlu bersaing di atas platform ekonomi secara sama rata dengan bangsa-bangsa lain di Malaysia. Betapa bodohnya Melayu liberal yang mempercayai dogma yang bersifat idealistik dari Barat ini tanpa melihat kepada latar belakang atau sejarah perjuangan pembinaan sesebuah negara yang kompleks dan multi-dimensi seperti Malaysia. Lebih malang lagi, dogma seperti ini banyak dibawa pulang oleh kebanyakan orang-orang Melayu moden yang belajar di luar negara khususnya dari negara Barat ironinya atas peluang dan bantuan biasiswa yang disediakan dari dasar affirmative action melalui pelaksanaan DEB.

3.         Amatlah merungsingkan apabila dilihat kumpulan Melayu liberal seperti ini banyak menganggotai jabatan-jabatan kerajaan, NGO-NGO dan sebagai consultant kepada Kerajaan Malaysia yang kononnya cuba memperjuangkan kesamarataan hak dan berusaha untuk menekan Kerajaan secara halus untuk memansuhkan pelaksanaan dasar-dasar Kerajaan bersifat affirmative action yang mengutamakan kepentingan Melayu. Perkara seperti ini amatlah dikesali kerana kini orang Melayu sendiri berusaha untuk menggadaikan hak dan keistimewaan yang diperjuangkan oleh pejuang-pejuang nasionalis terdahulu sedangkan kehidupan mereka hari ini adalah lebih baik hasil dari pelaksanaan dasar affirmative action ini. Kumpulan Melayu liberal ini perlu berasa malu dengan diri mereka sendiri kerana setelah mereka menikmati hak dan keistimewaan yang disediakan oleh dasar affirmative action dan DEB, mereka kini mahu melepaskan hak itu kerana mahu dilihat moden dan pragmatik di mata orang-orang asing yang lebih suka bersorak sekiranya Melayu gagal memimpin Kerajaan di Malaysia. Sepatutnya Melayu yang berjaya melanjutkan pelajaran di luar negara melalui peluang dari dasar affirmative action ini yang perlu lebih dahulu mempertahankan hak dalam memastikan anak-anak mereka dan orang-orang Melayu yang kurang bernasib baik yang tinggal di kawasan pedalaman dan kampung-kampung di serata pelusuk tanah air turut berpeluang menikmati hak yang sama yang telah mereka nikmati ini.

4.         Mungkin tulisan ini akan dianggap rasis dan cuba untuk mengapi-apikan semangat perkauman, namun ianya perlu bagi membuka mata dan menyedarkan golongan Melayu liberal dan kumpulan Chauvinis Cina betapa bahayanya usaha yang cuba mereka lakukan ini. Tulisan ini juga perlu untuk menyedarkan orang Melayu sendiri bahawa kini mereka adalah bersendirian dalam meneruskan perjuangan dan untung nasib anak-anak mereka di bumi milik nenek moyang mereka.  

Hak Ancestral Domain Penduduk Asal

5.         Orang-orang Melayu perlu insaf dan sedar akan kedudukan mereka pada hari ini. Hakikatnya nasib orang-orang Melayu pada abad ke 21 adalah lebih baik dari nasib nenek moyang mereka sebelum peristiwa 13 Mei 1969. Orang Melayu tidak perlu malu dengan hak dan keistimewaan yang mereka miliki kerana hak dan keistimewaan ini adalah milik mereka dan keturunan mereka yang telah diperjuangkan oleh nenek moyang mereka dalam perjuangan menuntut kemerdekaan daripada penjajah British. Hak ini yang dikenali sebagai ancestral domain kepada penduduk asal ini adalah diiktiraf oleh mana-mana negara di seluruh dunia serta banyak menjadi punca konflik dalaman dan perjuangan bersenjata menuntut hak seperti yang berlaku di Kosovo, Albania, Bosnia Herzegovina, Sudan, Uganda, Afrika Selatan, Ireland Utara, Mindanao-Filipina, Timor Leste, Chehnya, Palestine dan Sri Langka.

6.         Perjuangan orang-orang Melayu dalam agenda pembangunan negara untuk meningkatkan taraf hidup bangsa Melayu masih panjang dan berliku. Masih banyak lagi pencapaian sosio-ekonomi orang Melayu yang masih belum tercapai walaupun banyak tohmahan yang dibuat oleh kumpulan-kumpulan Chauvinis Cina dan Melayu liberal kononnya agenda 30% kek ekonomi orang Melayu dalam DEB sudah tercapai sejak 1997 justeru pelaksanaan dasaraffirmative action/ DEB wajar dimansuhkan. Bukti yang paling jelas adalah melalui senarai individu terkaya di Malaysia yang dikeluarkan oleh Majalah Forbes pada Februari 2013, hanya 9 orang Melayu yang disenaraikan daripada 50 orang yang disenaraikan dan kebanyakkan individu terkaya di Malaysia ini adalah dari kalangan orang Cina. Ini menunjukkan dasar affirmative action yang dilaksanakan selama ini bersifat inklusif dan tidak menindas peluang orang bukan Melayu khususnya orang-orang Cina di Malaysia untuk mencari kekayaan. Malah dasar ini memberikan lebih peluang kepada orang-orang bukan Melayu dalam pelbagai bidang perniagaan tanpa mengambil hak atau merampas kekayaan mereka untuk diberikan kepada orang-orang Melayu. Ekonomi negara juga mencatatkan pertumbuhan Keluaran Negara Kasar (KNK) keseluruhan sebanyak 5-6% setahun sedangkan banyak negara liberal diseluruh dunia tidak mampu mencapai kadar pertumbuhan positif sebanyak ini dan ada yang mencatatkan pertumbuhan negatif. Ini menunjukkan dasar affirmative action tidak memberikan sebarang kesan buruk kepada pertumbuhan ekonomi negara malah mencipta keyakinan di kalangan pelabur yang ingin melabur di Malaysia dengan pernyataan jelas bahawa pelaksanaan dasar ekonomi di Malaysia adalah bersifat menyeluruh melalui penyusunan semula masyarakat dan memerangi kemiskinan melalui penciptaan peluang ekonomi yang adil di antara golongan kaya dan miskin. Jawatan-jawatan utama sektor awam kini seperti jawatan Ketua Setiausaha Kementerian, Ketua-ketua Jabatan Kerajaan, Pengarah-pengarah Kanan Syarikat Berkaitan Kerajaan, pegawai-pegawai kanan Polis dan Tentera dan peneraju badan-badan pemikir kerajaan juga banyak diisi oleh orang bukan Melayu khususnya orang-orang Cina dan ini menunjukkan dasar affirmative action tidak bersifat diskriminasi kaum dan lebih bersifat menyeluruh.

Pengalaman Buruk Bangsa Moro Menuntut Hak Ancestral Domain di Mindanao

7.         Orang Melayu perlu insaf akan nasib yang menimpa bangsa Moro di bumi Mindanao yang terpaksa mengangkat senjata bagi menuntut hak ancestral domain mereka. Perjuangan orang-orang Moro kini bersifat nasionalis seakan sama seperti perjuangan parti UMNO pada waktu ianya menuntut kemerdekaan daripada British awal tahun 1950an dahulu. Namun perbezaannya perjuangan nasionalis orang-orang Moro ini datang selepas negara Filipina ditubuhkan dan telah wujud perlembagaan negara Filipina yang bersifat lebih pro-Kristian Katolik. Situasi ini telah menidakkan hak orang-orang Moro untuk meneruskan tradisi hidup mereka melalui pemilikan hak tanah dan perkongsian sumber kekayaan hasil bumi milik nenek moyang mereka di antara mereka. Nasib orang-orang Moro bertambah malang kerana tanah milik mereka telah dirampas oleh peneroka-peneroka Kristian Katolik yang datang dari utara Filipina dan peneroka ini dibantu oleh regim-regim pentadbiran terdahulu khususnya pada zaman Ferdinand Marcos dalam memperolehi geran tanah secara legal. Disebabkan oleh orang-orang Moro yang tidak berpelajaran dan buta huruf, penindasan diteruskan melalui pentadbiran dan dasar-dasar Kerajaan Filipina yang melaksanakan diskriminasi kaum dan agama bukan sahaja melalui rampasan tanah namun juga orang-orang Moro ini tidak diberikan peluang untuk berkhidmat di dalam jentera pentadbiran Kerajaan.

8.         Persaingan ekonomi secara bebas juga tidak memberi peluang yang adil kepada orang-orang Moro untuk bersaing di bidang perniagaan kerana mereka miskin dan tidak mempunyai modal serta tiada diberikan sebarang bantuan lonjakan permulaan perniagaan oleh sebarang dasar ekonomi Kerajaan Filipina. Demokrasi mutlak juga tidak menjanjikan kebahagiaan kepada orang-orang Moro kerana mereka kini adalah golongan minoriti di Mindanao dan mereka tidak mempunyai kuasa politik di tanah air mereka sendiri. Pendek kata, orang-orang Islam Moro ditindas dalam pelbagai bidang samada ekonomi, sosial mahupun politik di bumi milik nenek moyang mereka. Ini menyebabkan orang-orang Moro tidak mempunyai pilihan lain selain daripada bersatu dan menentang Kerajaan Filipina secara bersenjata. Pengorbanan dan jihad yang dilakukan ini adalah benar secara moral dalam perjuangan menuntut hak mereka. Masakan mereka hanya menjadi gelandangan di negeri sendiri dan hanya menjadi pemerhati tatakala orang asing menikmati kekayaan dari hasil tanah milik nenek moyang mereka.

9.         Sehingga kini nasib orang-orang Moro di Mindanao masih buruk dengan mencatatkan sebagai kumpulan orang-orang miskin yang terbesar. Mereka kini hanya mampu melihat tanah milik nenek moyang mereka diusahakan oleh peneroka-peneroka yang merampas tanah mereka. Betapa sedih nasib orang-orang Moro di Mindanao apabila segala aspek kehidupan mereka adalah ketinggalan dan daif termasuk juga aspek fardhu kifayah apabila mereka tidak mampu mengebumikan ahli keluarga dan sanak saudara yang meninggal dunia di tanah perkuburan Islam yang sesuai dan hanya menyempurnakan jenazah di halaman rumah masing-masing kerana tidak mempunyai wang bagi memperolehi tanah kubur secara kariah. Situasi ini berbeza dengan orang Kristian Katolik di Mindanao yang mampu mengebumikan ahli keluarga mereka di tanah perkuburan Kristian yang disediakan oleh Kerajaan Tempatan (Local Government Unit) serta banyak dibantu secara kewangan oleh NGO-NGO Kristian dari hasil wang yang disalurkan dari Manila. Nasib orang-orang Melayu di Malaysia lebih baik dan lebih beruntung di mana imam-imam masjid dibayar gaji dan elaun oleh Kerajaan Persekutuan dan aspek kehidupan berkaitan budaya, agama dan cara hidup orang Melayu itu dilindungi dan diberi bantuan oleh Kerajaan Malaysia kerana itu adalah hak keistimewaan orang-orang Melayu yang termaktub di dalam perlembagaan yang digubal sebelum Malaysia merdeka. Nasib wanita Moro juga amat teruk kerana kebajikan mereka tidak dijaga dan dilindungi. Mereka juga tidak diberikan bantuan untuk meningkatkan taraf sosio-ekonomi mereka dan sebahagian besar daripada wanita Moro hidup di dalam kemiskinan tegar mengharapkan belas ehsan. Hampir 90% wanita Moro tidak berpelajaran tinggi berbeza dengan wanita Melayu yang menjadi majoriti hampir di kesemua Institusi Pengajian Tinggi Awam (IPTA) di Malaysia. Nasib wanita Melayu adalah berbeza dan lebih baik berbanding wanita Moro dimana terdapat sebuah Kementerian khas di Malaysia yang membantu membela nasib wanita Melayu bukan hanya dalam meningkatkan taraf sosio-ekonomi mereka malah turut menjaga kebajikan mereka dari segenap hal.

10.       Melayu liberal di Malaysia juga perlu insaf dan bersyukur, tatakala anak-anak mereka hidup mewah dan berpendidikan tinggi hasil usaha peluang yang diciptakan melalui pelaksanaan dasar affirmative action, anak-anak orang-orang Islam Moro seawal usia 15 tahun sudah diajar untuk menuntut hak ancestral domain nenek moyang mereka secara bersenjata. Betapa beruntungnya orang Melayu dilahirkan di Malaysia dan dapat menikmati hasil perjuangan pejuang nasionalis Melayu terdahulu dan betapa malangnya nasib orang-orang Moro dan anak-anak mereka kerana masa depan anak cucu mereka masih belum menentu. Hak-hak keistimewaan milik orang-orang Melayu berkaitan ancestral domain yang telah diperjuangkan oleh pejuang nasionalis Melayu di Malaysia tidak perlu diusik atau disentuh kerana ianya telah memastikan Malaysia bergerak maju selama ini. Orang-orang Cina di Malaysia juga perlu sedar bahawa formula perkongsian kekayaan melalui dasar affirmative action inilah yang memberi peluang ekonomi yang lebih baik kepada mereka berbanding nasib orang-orang Cina di Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam dan Australia yang dipaksa mengamalkan dasar acculturation masyarakat setempat. Janganlah terlalu bersifat tamak dan berkongsilah peluang mencipta kekayaan di Malaysia ini dengan orang-orang Melayu. Orang-orang Melayu juga perlu insaf dan banyak muhasabah diri serta belajarlah daripada nasib orang-orang Islam Moro di Mindanao pada hari ini. Kerana jika tiada dasar affirmative action yang bersifat nasionalis ini, anda mungkin kini terpaksa tinggal di dalam hutan berjuang menuntut hak dan kebanyakkan daripada anda mungkin terpaksa menjalani hari-hari yang berlalu dengan perasaan marah, sedih dan kecewa sebagaimana orang-orang Moro pada hari ini di Mindanao.

Sekian.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

By the grace of God

Nivio and Teddy on graduation day, 2nd October 2013, University Malaya

This is very emotional day to me. For a number of reason and most of it are personal. It is also one of the happiest days of my life. Alhamdulillah and all praise to Allah s.w.t. for His strength and blessing has given to me in completing this study. Special appreciation to Assoc. Prof. Dr. Jatswan Singh, my supervisor in the University Malaya and Rashidi bin Hasbullah, my mentor in the administrative and diplomatic services for their critiques and insights towards developing a sound study. Much gratitude to Iskandar Sazlan from Maritime Institute of Malaysia (MIMA) for his support with precious books, journals and sources and not to mention his exclusive contacts that sparked debates and precious input to me in planning and executing this study.
In writing my final research I have been assisted by so many people. Sincere thanks to Danny, Roszilawati and Syukri in my work place, Nazatul Azni and Nizam Mydin from the Prime Minister’s Department and everyone that I might have forgot to mention their names here. Your efforts in encouraging me to finish the study and insights on the subject matter will always be remembered.
Not to forget my close friend, Lino Miani for his comments to solidify and streamline my study through our endless emails and face to face discussions. Last but not least, I wish to express very special gratitude to my parents, families and friends for providing their unconditional support throughout the course of my study. I dedicate this study to my beloved nephew Mohd Firdaus Hydier in Penang. Today my convocation is not just about me, but also your success. Thus, I feel obliged to share with all of you and I can't thank you all enough. Thank you very very much and I share my happiness with all of you today. I love you all!


Monday, 22 July 2013

Cebu and Bohol Island

Teddy at the Magellan's Cross, Cebu. Notice the paintings on the ceiling depicting the landings of Magellan on Cebu Island

Cebu

I went to Cebu and Bohol Island for three days last May 2013 solely for blowing some steam off over my work pressure and perhaps to understand the Philippines better. I really mean to share about the adventure in my blog, but works got in the way somehow and it postponed my write up. However, today taking advantage over my free time with my lap top I've put up the narratives of my adventure in Cebu and Bohol into writing so that my viewers would appreciate the islands and it's history.



Teddy at the Magellan's Cross, Cebu

Teddy at the Magellan's Cross, Cebu

Cebu Island was introduced to me by Jesse, the Philippines National Museum staff as he was explaining to me the history of the nation when I first visited the museum early April in Manila. Cebu was the first place where Ferdinand Magellan landed when he found Philippines and planted his cross on the island which marks the arrival of the first Christian Conquistadors in the Southeast Asian region. It was the race between the Portuguese and the Spaniard of finding a new colony in spreading the Gospel and also finding a new wealth for the Spanish monarch in terms of gold and spices. It was also the time of crusades where the European tried to break the Arabs monopoly over spices trade in the Mediterranean. 10 years after the death of Magellan under the hands of Lapu-lapu, the Spaniards embark the second conquest from Mexico to avenge Magellan death in Cebu. From Cebu after seven years of establishing a Catholic settlements, with the help of colonized Filipinos the Spaniards under Lopez de Legazpi went up north to take Manila from Raja Sulayman, yes the Muslim king. Ever since then and up to this day due to the exploration, Philippines remains the only country in Asia dominated by the Catholic Church almost 95% of its whole populations are Christians followers. Filipinos Cebu are very proud of their long history and they regarded themselves as Cebuano's first and Filipinos second.

I took my cousin Faris for the three days trip in Cebu and Bohol and after arriving in Mactan airport, we went straight to see the spot where Magellan first landed. It was Friday evening and the Magellan's cross site was full of peoples not just tourist but the local Catholic Christian followers which visited the place for a blessing and prayers. The adjacent building also is the famous Santo Nino Church as old as the history of the Catholic religion in the Philippines. The church holds one of the holiest artifact in the country Catholic society which is the doll of baby Jesus which Magellan presented to Queen Juana when he make friends with her husband, King Humabon. I can imagine that the place was just a modest remote island with just a tiny villages during the King Humabon time when he received the landing party of Ferdinand Magellan and extend his friendship with the Spanish Conquistador through a blood pact ceremony. At that time most of the trade were done through the barter trade system and it was recorded by Magellan's writer that Cebu was rich with gold and other resources. 

Teddy in front of the Fort San Pedro at the old city of Cebu


This city was full of history and it stretches way back to the 14th century where the first method of galleon navigation used by the Spaniards was trial and error and by chance they find the Island of Cebu. Ever since the Magellan landing, the place are not quiet without an incidents and most famous one was the assassination of Magellan himself by the local warlords Lapu-Lapu. I can summarized that Lapu-lapu was angry and furious with Magellan for spreading the Catholic gospels as there are rumors that Lapu-lapu himself was a Muslim prince that came from Mindanao. The Islamic teaching spread out in the Philippines in particular Sulu Island located down south a century earlier in the 13th Century by the Arabs traders. One fascinating fact that I find is that the interpreter for Magellan was a man known as "Enrique de Malacca/ Man from Malacca". In Cebu, there were also a visible marks of the Chinese traders and most of their descendants now can be seen living in Cebu with famous name of a rich family. But they also somehow have amalgamated into the Filipinos society through cross marriage.

I also took the opportunity to see the Santo Nino doll in a closer look inside the Santo Nino Church. The artifact is classic evidence of the Roman Catholic influence on the daily life of the Filipino peoples. You can clearly see that peoples queuing up just to have a glimpse of the doll and pray. They does really took religion very seriously and close to their heart. I like the church architecture very much as I am myself was a history buff. I asked the passerby was it a special day as they are praying in masses, she told me that it's an everyday event over there as the church was considered one of the holiest site in the Philippines. The church was the birthplace of Catholic religion for the Filipinos.

Teddy in front of the Santo Nino Church
Apart from the Santo Nino Church, I also visited the San Pedro Fort located nearby the Magellan's landing site at the old city. This is my first experience of having a closer look of the Spanish fort. It was very different from the British built fort as I've seen in Penang or the A' Famosa fort built by the Portuguese in Malacca. I was told by the tour guide that the building material for the fort was an eggs yoke as a mortar. The basic design was a triangle in shape but covers the whole area if there are any threats coming in from the sea and land. It was very nice and practical in design. Very beautiful too with carvings. Peoples those days built a very beautiful structure compared to us these days which relies more on fabricated materials. 

Teddy in Bohol Island
Bohol

I also took the opportunity of my time in Cebu to visit the Island of Bohol located beside Cebu Island. At the first place I thought Bohol was just a tiny island located near to Cebu (without me having a look at the map). However I was a bit surprised as the island of Bohol itself was bigger than Cebu and full of its own unique history. Our ferry ride from Cebu pier took us almost two hours to reach Bohol. We rounded Bohol Island by cycling, the services provided by the Bugoy Bikers. I should have allocate more time in Bohol, it was surely a very beautiful place.

Teddy cycling on top of the Bohol peak

Teddy with Chocolate hill at the background

It was my first cycling 50 Km stretch non stop riding up the hills and it hurts my butt for the next three days. The surprise part of my tour was that I find the remnants of the old Spanish Catholic church in the middle of Bohol out of nowhere. There are also a very beautiful Spanish settlements with old houses and architecture too. It was very beautiful. This country does symbolizes the success of the Spanish Gospel adventure as the Filipinos peoples embrace the religion closer to their breath with the existence of Church and chapels every kilometers of our ride. I also can't help but notice that most of the interior city in Bohol was very clean and tidy such as their road, municipality and public market. I was really amazed. Our tour guide, Diego later brought us to the Chocolate hills and we had lunch at one of the tourist attraction spot on top of the hills. At first I thought Chocolate hills was just one or two hills looks like a cone and that's much about it, however I was wrong as there are hundreds of them in vast area. Formed up millions of years ago, they indeed looks very beautiful. At the bottom of the hills we were shown a unique creature called Tarsier monkeys. It was really cute and they lived by consuming small insects holding up tiny branches of flower and small trees. It was an amazing experience.

Teddy and the Chocolate hills
Tarsier monkeys
Bilar man made forest

Teddy and Faris at the Chocolate hills


On our way back to the pier, Diego brought us on a Jeepney through the Bilar man made forest in the area known as Carmen in Bohol. The view and its beauty is breathtaking. I could never imagine that man can plant a mahogany tree in a arrangement as beautiful as that. It was really gorgeous!

It was a very fruitful trip to Cebu and Bohol Island. I learnt a lot of things during my three days trip there. I meet a lot of nice Filipinos peoples. I even tried the Jeepneys for the first time with eight pesos of fare every ride. Filipinos are really a very hospitable and nice peoples. The thing about Philippines is that this country indeed is a Christian Catholic and their peoples embrace the religion closer to their daily breath. The Spanish Conquistador mission was a successful one. This is very different from the type of Christian religion that was embrace by the peoples in Malaysia. The fascinating thing about its history is everywhere you go there will always be parts of the Spanish Conquistador remnants either it be Church, chapels or milestones reminding us that the Spanish once the master of these peoples. On my ferry back to Cebu from Bohol, it gets to my mind thinking how much I envy peoples those day. They have a lot of things to explore and mark their name in world history. We don't have that kind of chance anymore as all the places in the world have been discovered. Or aren't they? 

This trip also opens up my mind on the context of human history vastness as we should not be confine into any centrality of historical understanding. Be able to see the first hand of Spanish Conquistador remnants, I now appreciate human dynamics and multidimensional better then before. I don't have enough time really to see all of this remnants and history and for this I'm really regret. As I promised Marylou and Diego when we parted, I'll definitely be back. This time perhaps with my wife.
Teddy in front of the Cebu Metropolitan Cathederal
Teddy in front of the Mayor's office in old Cebu

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Patience

Teddy looking over a vast arable land of Mindanao
They said patience is a virtue. But how does we really understand the meaning of this phrase if we didn't went through the grueling process of forbearing. Being a human is very difficult for me. Being the chosen one is another different story. Most of the time you will find me being alone thinking why I just couldn't be the same as everybody else? Don't I have any options for my own choosing? Why does God really treat my life differently from everyone? To an extend just for the sake of living a normal life I deliberately made mistakes. I'm just a normal human being like everyone, but God attention to me sometimes is overpowering. Yet upon mistakes made, He is still there. 

I tell you it's really tiring, exhausting and fatiguing (I'm running out of words) being the chosen one. Peoples might think I'm crazy (maybe I am), but this is true coming out from my heart. I'm tired of living it. One time I thought that the test was over, but no, He decided that He didn't have enough fun of deciding things for me. Left me in tatters and I learn to pick up my life yet again. I don't know how long this will continue to be so. I reckon it will be for an eternity. 

I simply can't choose my own life. I'm tired of everything really. It's just the same old story. Most of the time I'm thinking I'd better be dead then living. Life can be really nasty sometimes. Yeah, that is the honest truth of my feeling. I just want a simple life.. I just want to be like everybody else living it instead of playing God's role. But that decision is not for me to make. It's solely in God hands. I feel really guilty for those that encountered and cross path with my life. They were an enigma to me.. a tools to breaks me and I'm is their deliverance. It's an ugly feeling seeing how they'll pick up their life's afterwards. I don't want all of this. But it's not of my choosing.

This life I'm living in doesn't belong to me. It belongs to God in totality or absolute form. I can't make any choices at all, it's like I'm the main actor playing the God's scripts. It's full of drama, emotions, sometimes joy. Most of the time it's full of painful experience. The plot and story line that was written for me just illogical and my life is no where near logic. I'm tired of playing this role. Sometimes I feel like I want to be left alone. Nobody would understand this feeling except me myself. This is a very long process, a very long story line and I don't know where it will ends.

Teddy

In living it I seek comfort through everything that I loves. The innocence of a child, intelligent conversations with anyone in a hope that they will utter some of God's words. Involved in sports activities such as going to the gym and most of all through reading, not to mention visiting world historical sites. It does take away the pain but the injured feelings lingers. I don't know what does God wants really from me. I can't decipher it. He writes it in a away for me to endure pain and see how the world goes, but I can't change it. I take my life on a daily basis to ease the fading away hopes on certain things that I want to do and loves with an understanding that what I want doesn't really matter. I just hope that He'd be gentle to me. I've no choice, I'm helpless and feel so small. Sometimes I feel angry and devastated. I've no choice but to make peace with this feeling. Patience is a virtue..

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Father

Teddy in Cebu City
Life is really gorgeous when you see the purpose in it. I lost my father when I was 16 years old. Please don't feel sorry for me as I'm not the only orphans in the world that lost his father by that age. I don't really know my father. By that phrase, I don't practically share anything with him. I went away from home for boarding schools by the age of 13 years old and my father spent all his life working outstation away from home only visited us during weekends. Don't get the wrong ideas, my father is a loyal husband and loves my mother so much. It just happens that God writes his life that he need to sacrifice certain things in life for the benefits of the family. That's how our father showered us with love, by sacrificing his life and what he wants most for the good of the family. I happens to stumbles upon his loves letter to my mother that she kept really well since her USM years.

Orphans is a very strong words and a mighty destiny. Me and my father doesn't really share anything on life. He never read me books before sleeps or discuss any football matters or any outdoor activities such as fishing which I want to make up with my own kids if I ever have any. He remains reclusive from my life during our weekends encounter but that doesn't mean he doesn't loves me. My father doesn't talk much, he just loves to stare and watch me while I'm drifted into my own imagination when I was a young kid. I still remember the day when I was 10 years old that we had an argument over the phone coz I need to finish building kites for my school project, he went home to help me that evening even he was busy with works at the first place. My father never fail to answer my prayers even he didn't show that he will at the first place.

That's all about the memories that I remembers about my father and me and some boring stuff about him that reminds me that I don't want to be an average man like he is. He is a mystery man, different from all of his brothers and always kept things for himself. He never tell me anything even when he was suffering from a very bad cancer on the last evening I saw him at the hospital. Deep down inside me, I knew he was staring at me at that hospital balcony as if he was thinking for the very last time that he will ever saw me again. Pondering of what will happens to me if God calls on him. I regret that moment for the rest of my life. I still do..

But life seems to be going on well to me. God took my father but He took my father place instead of giving it to somebody else or left it vacant. Ever since, I reckon our family have been taken care really well by God himself. The love is still the same. Both my father and God kinda acted the same. They doesn't talk much, but you know they are there watching and protects us. It's only us that have to pay attention over the details that He has been making. Things are never less for us and turn out real fine. We have been living a wonderful life despite a very hard first five years. The loves showed continues to bless us to this day. Honestly, I couldn't be where I am if it's not because of Him taking a good care over my life. It ain't logic that I am the man who I am if it's not because of His protection. Even from my own weaknesses.

I can summarize, the father love is something aren't left to be said but merely felt. A father will always protect us no matter what, even how childish we can be and how old we are turning, coz a father love is infinite.. He will always be there silently watching and come to our protection when it is needed. There is nothing pure than the loves of a father. He loves us because the love of a father is pure. He will avoid conflicts for any disagreement with us, but he will maintain to protect us even from our own self. Sometimes he will let us to go about our own way but stop us when He thinks we are endangering ourselves. I am very blessed, when God took my father away, He took over the place Himself instead of sending somebody else or left it vacant. We never felt any shortcomings over losing our father, but we do miss him everyday. I know I will always be protected by Him. Because He is my father now.. and I loves Him so much.

Sunday, 2 June 2013

My body and ageing

Teddy 
I notice lately that my body is changing with my age growing older. I never felt this kind of changes before with my own body. This is the first time in my life that I'm reactive to my own body changes. I guess this is what you feel when growing old. When I was in the university years and school period, I always thought that the sky is the limit. Thus I went to do a lot of outdoor activities either with friends or by my own self, punishing my body to the limit. I was very thin then, and with the heights of 1.72 meters back then put me in a worrisome condition with the weight of 55 kg. That's truly underweight with BMI of 19 and less. But my worrisome were shrugged of by the UPM Health Clinic doctor that told me not to worry too much as it was normal for a 22 year old teenager as the weight will start to build up itself with me getting old and established. How true that was and I'm forever indebted to his vision over me. He reminded me not to worry too much and try to look at P. Ramlee when he was young, scrawny and thin fella at the start of his career. P. Ramlee later built weight throughout his career life. That doctor's advice I kept to this day. He was my regular physician that I consulted almost every month while I was at UPM, plus my friend Megat who was at that time have to do dialysis everyday was also a patient of that doctor. Free consultation for my health. Once again, how blessed I am (still counting).

During my university years, my body doesn't really respond to any of the punishment that I put it on. As I told you before, I went to do a lot of physical activities and my most favorite one was jogging every Saturday morning running uphills around the university with much length of miles. I still remember Ady always accompany me for the jogging but he was riding the motorcycles instead of running with me. He's in it for the ladies. He is a teacher now in Sg. Besar, Selangor and doing quite alright now. It doesn't effect me at all with all that physical punishment I challenged myself, my body seems to heal fast. But things are little bit different now, I'm prone to muscle fatigue and bruises after physical workout. I guess that comes with ageing. Nowadays after heavy jogging and workout, I'll end up nursing my bruises with ice, but I'm quite alright about it. That's the fact of life, like rocky said, "just keep punching." I love Rocky Balboa, he has been my role model and inspiration since I was in High School. I just want to be as noble and as good as he is. Happy and content with healthy body and mind.. and a very good heart.

Those days, I'm not worried anything about my dietary. I always thought that I'm invincible, and I take everything for consumption and still I do not gain any weight. I'll stuff anything just to gain the ideal weight with little less regard for it's effect. Still it doesn't work out. For a 22 years old boy with such heights, you tend to be very worried about your weight coz you'll look very lean and unattractive for the ladies. That's normal when your hormones and maturity starts to ripen. I develops a problems for acne too, that was really worse. But it's the rite of passage for me. I tried everything at that time, protein whey, vitamins, supplements, you name it. Still it doesn't work. But again, my personal doctor confided me not to worry too much. One of the  physical trainers in INTAN when I just enter the public service, he did suggest me to go for gym work out but I was quite naive and immature then. What's gym for when you can just eat and increase your weight. How stupid I am at that time. Luckily I'm not a smoker, I never was and never have any slights interest in smoking. On that part I'm truly blessed. That keeps my lungs very fresh and healthy till this day. But, I start to realize that my body tend to be more reactive and sensitive towards physical activities when I'm climbing to the age of 30s. Now at the  age of 29 years old, I have achieved 72 kg with that weight keeps on fluctuating with the kind of life pressure I'm facing. That's 23 index for my BMI. My blood pressure reading is 115/ 55. My doctor told me that reading was low because I lives an active life and should maintain it that way. Now, I need to be more careful and sensitive with my body changes and also the things that I eat. I try to avoid soft drinks and sodas. I won't gain weight easy coz my metabolism is still high,  but I need to avoid the unnecessary risk of heart attack and depression.

I guess all of my family members have that high rate of metabolism. If you look at my younger sisters they are lean. They think a lot too. We are family of thinkers and thus our metabolism rate are through the roof. I read a lot, and during the night before sleeps, my mind will ponder over the things that I've read during day time and sometimes to my life shortcomings over work matters and relationship life. Like now, I'm still thinking about the book written by Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird even  it's been a week after I finish reading it. That's the level of my thinking. Nowadays, when ever I went to do some physical activities I will take my own time for stretching and warming up before I even start of any exercise. It does helps in mitigating any problems of muscles bruises and shin splinters. But I still love to punish my body to the limit with high rate of physical activities. Sometimes ends me up with a back pain that need a nursing of a professional massage or for a pills or two of muscle pain tablets. That is me being me. I love my body and I'm blessed to see the changes coming.

My favourite sports still is tennis, running, out door activities and gym work out. I like gym activities so much coz it gives me chances of building up my body to the level of confidence meeting peoples. By being an avid gym goers, you tend to be sensitive to your body changes more and fussy about your dietary too. You'll be concern about the lack of changes with the surrounding fellas giving you encouragement. I made a lot of friends too. Gym works out taught me to be patient and challenging. I'm lucky by the age of 29, I'm now have a high awareness of my own body health. I hope this habits of healthy life will remains for the rest of my life. Being here in the Philippines also gave me more time and chances to train myself. I am real blessed as me being here are surrounded by many of the army PT trainers from Brunei that kept encourage me to keep fit with some tips of maintaining good healthy body. I'm not vying for any athletic types of body figure, just the right shape of healthy body and shrewd mental thinking. More importantly is that I'm happy and energetic all the time. I'm blessed!


That's me and my trainer Archie.. helluva great guy! We will built more muscle that's for sure! :)

Friday, 26 April 2013

Spoliarium

Teddy at the Intramuros, Manila

I don't really know how should I share my latest adventure in the Philippines, but it seems that for the past three days it has been a very good close encounter between me and this country. The trip around Manila had opened up my eyes to a much more larger perspective on what Philippines is and how does she behaves and very much upon this blessing, I feel obliged to share it with all my viewers.

I went to the National Museum of the Philippines, located near the Intramuros (city inside the wall) and Rizal Park. My new friend Erwin whom I just happens to know by accident, brought me here just to give me the perspectives and so that I will understand the psyche and way of life of the Filipino peoples. Upon registering names and buying the tickets, they introduced to the Museum curator named Jesse. He began to bring me to see this special national treasure which is a painting twice larger than the school blackboard. This painting is called Spoliarium. It was painted by one of the Philippines founding father Juan Luna in the year 1884. It took Juan Luna 8 months to finish his masterpiece using a used galleon mast.

Teddy and Spoliarium
Actually I wasn't that interested to see or try to understand this painting at the first place. Then Jesse starts to explain to me the meanings of the depicted images. It intrigues me little by little of the meanings and then he had me completely. Spoliarium (spoilsr) was an image or a scene of a moment after the death of a Roman Gladiator in Coliseum, Rome. It shows many moments in one sketch. The figures of a dead Gladiators hauled by a Roman soldiers for them to be stripe of their belongings such as shield, swords, helmets, sandals and their garments. There are also figures of businessman or poachers that are trying to take advantage of getting the belongings of a slain gladiator and all the belongings to sell it later. One figure of a Roman Soldiers shunned one poacher for being too greedy. Other figures are a weeping woman perceived to be the lover of the dead gladiator in grief and the mother looking for their sons dead bodies to be cremated. The last figures would be commoners and aristocrats jostling down the stairs to see their role model and dead heroes (gladiators are like a rock star that period in Rome) and Romans would believe that "if you drink the blood of the gladiators, you will be cured of your illness". Everyone is vying for something from the slain gladiators including his blood. Death brings life to others. The paradoxes of it is that after much of entertainment given by these gladiators to Romans, they were hauled down in such a way more to be exploited.

Most of us might wonder what is the relation between Spoliarium and Philippines and their road to nationhood. Plus Roman 2,000 years of history is different from 19th century Philippines. The answers are everything is related. Spoliarium in way also depicted a lot of domestic struggles and inequality experienced by the Filipinos during the Spanish era. The images depicted by Juan Luna in some way have also encapsulates on how Filipinos sees their road to nationhood. They treasured dead heroes as in Jose Rizal and Senator Benigno Aquino Jr. The Filipinos way is the hard way of life as depicted by the slain gladiators. And most of all they love heroes better still they dead. Spoliarium is an everyday scene of life of the Filipinos.

Looking back in retrospect of the painter Juan Luna himself, the Spoliarium painting is an equal of Lt. Adnan when he proves that a Malay soldier also can lead among the throng of the British officers. In 1884, Spoliarium won the gold medal in 1884 Madrid Expo beating all the Europeans painters most important of all it beats the Spaniards artist. It shows that pure Filipinos like Juan Luna can also do better than their Spanish masters (those day Filipino were treated as second class citizens compared to Spaniards). This painting sparks a concept of nationalism and the fighting for equality as similar as the Malay novel of Pak Sako - Anak Mat Lela Gila/ Putera Gunung Tahan. Road to nationhood indeed starts with fine arts. Juan Luna is a close friend of Jose Rizal, and the Philippines founding fathers are close buddy alongside Dr. Ariston Bautista Jr travelling all over Europe such as Spain, France, Austria and Germany. Philippines are built as an amalgam of their founding father experience in Europe. And they love fine arts in a way it shows their psyches are much more advanced than us (in some areas perhaps).

The Parisian Life

I learnt a lot of things that day. Apart from Spoliarium, many more mesmerizing and beautiful paintings, sculptures, I was also shown the other famous paintings by Juan Luna which called the Parisian Life. But that golden experience and info is just for me to keep between me and myself. There is too much to tell in one painting. I also learnt that Jose Rizal was also a playboy and a poet, by that he just happens to be my new heroes. :)

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Fort Pikit, North Cotabato, Mindanao

Teddy at the Fort Pikit
I went to see Fort Pikit yesterday. It was located north of Cotabato city. Pikit according to my Pinoy friend means "close your eyes" in Tagalog. The fort located on top of a high hills and the surrounding covers the vast area of the northern Cotabato district. This fort was built by the Spanish conqueror in the 1893 and ever since was used by various foreign powers such as the Americans, the Japanese Imperial and the Armed Forces of the Philippines.


Remnants of Fort Pikit
Apart from what my friend told me about the history of Fort Pikit, I don't have much of a facts to shared here. But this fort is surely strategically located as it has the 360 degree of bird eyes view of the whole area. This fort does experienced numerous battle during the Spanish era, with the worst was  the World War 2 era (Americans to retake Mindanao from the Japanese) and also the resistance years. Nowadays (post-2005) it was used as the Philippines National Police base.

Remnants of Fort Pikit

Teddy at the slabs sign

Remnants of Fort Pikit

Remnants of Fort Pikit

Bird eyes view from Fort Pikit

Bird eyes view from Fort Pikit

Bird eyes view from Fort Pikit

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Love and faith

Teddy in the Philippines
Life is funny sometimes for me. You'll never know where it will leads you. I've been planning all my life, but I realized that God always has a better plan for me. There are times when I keep to question my faith and if there really is Him looking down on me, or is it just me being unlucky on certain things. And then when I take time to re look back in retrospects and see whats really transpired on every detail of my life I knew it is not a coincidence. And now, I will leave it all to God. What really makes you happy? Lots of money? Title for oneself? Beautiful women besides you? That is not a guarantee for a meaningful and wonderful life. At least not for me. My life so far has been wondrous. I already feel content with what all I got. I think God loves me too much. I was having a conversation with my close friend the other day, I asked him why God won't let me decides on the things for my life? Why he decides it all and me just merely living the life He has arranged? What does He really wants from me? My friends answered it accurately - God wants me to put all my trust wholeheartedly to Him and not to anyone else. I shall do that from now on.

My life is beautiful and full of surprises. Who would have thought that love would lead me to the Philippines. This is my moment. My age is relative, and my happiness depended upon on how I treat people. My idol will always be the likes of Rocky Balboa. I want to grow old loving someone, cherish the love that are showered upon me and continue to be bless by God. I want to do things that makes me happy, and continues to help peoples in any way I could.

Teddy in Mindanao, the Philippines
So far I've been blessed. I've met wonderful peoples, seeing the cuteness and the innocence of a child in their eyes and at the receiving end of their trust and loves. Where ever I went to, I've been greeted with pure respects and trust, honesty and love. I'm aware and do realized that I'm living a very promising life. If this is not a blessing from God, I don't know what that is. But I believe God continues to test me by holding back certain things which I longed the most. And this is perhaps the testing time for me in cemented my faith towards Him. He might be looking down on me and smiling as I'm writing this post, but I know He loves me. It's just like a father love towards their kids, they might be too protected sometimes, but it's for their kids own good. And the kid might not seeing this yet.. One day he will.

Faces of Tun Teddy

Faces of Tun Teddy