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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

bayi Terabai

I don’t think you will see many titles on my blog that begin in Bahasa Melayu (BM). In fact, this is probably the first. There’s a special reason for it though, it has to do with a few people that I talked to, which I had never met before and our little chat was in my national language. Honestly I surprised myself, because I don’t believe I’ve ever talked to someone in BM for more than five minutes for quite some time now. What was the special occasion?

I remember it was during on of the Convofair nights, I had just met up with Josmyth and Girberth and we were going one round around the grounds. As we were walking along, we saw a trio of people who seemed to be from a religious society (not the same one I mentioned in a recent blog entry) approaching random people for some reason. Of course, we didn’t know who they were, I thought they might have been direct sellers or product promoters initially so my brain was set on auto-mode to just walk past ignoring them.

It didn’t work the way my brain planned it though, I guess I looked a little too handsome (yeah right!) and I was personally approached by them. Here’s an excerpt of our conversation, as I can remember it. I can’t remember the exact words because I didn’t record it but here’s how it went roughly, and I’ve edited it quite a bit and added some points as well to drive home certain things:

“Hi, kami dari persatuan ‘nama panjang yang saya tidak ingat', dan kita sedang ambil pendapat orang di sini. Kalau anda ingat, sejak kebelakangan ini, surat khabar dan berita televisyen membuat liputan tentat kes membuang bayi di negara kita. Apakah pandangan saudara tentang kejadian ini?”

“Pendapat saya… bolehkah anda bertanya dengan lebih spesifik? Sebab, kalau hendak beri pandangan, topik in sangat luas, jadi….”

“Mungkin saudara boleh memberi pendapat anda tentang apakah yang telah menjadi punca kejadian ini. Mengapakah kegiatan membuang bayi ini sekarang menjadi lebih berleluasa?”

“Untuk, saya, saya rasa satu sebab ini berlaku kerana mungkin orang muda tidak faham apakah akibatnya kalau mereka terlibat dalam kegiatan seks, ataupun seks bebas. Kalau kita hendak tahu punca orang membuang bayi, kita perlu faham bahawa memang seks datang terlebih dahulu. Orang muda ini mungkin tidak begitu faham apakah akibatnya yang sebenar. Ini mungkin kerana mereka tidak diberi pendidikan seks oleh ibu bapa mereka. Mungkin ini kerana di negara kita, ibu bapa malu untuk berbincang tentang seks dengan anak mereka. Juga, sekolah di Malaysia tidak memberi pendidkan seks kepada pelajar. Kalau mereka berada dalam situasi yang sedemikian, di manakah mereka akan belajar tentang seks? Kalau tiada orang yang akan mengajar mereka tentang hal ini, mereka akan cuba untuk belajar dengan sendiri, sama ada dengan menonton filem lucah atau apa-apa yang mereka boleh memperolehi. Ini kerana mereka tidak diperkenalkan kepada sumber lain yang boleh mengajar mereka untuk memiliki kematangan yang diperlukan apabila dihadapi dengan isu seperti seks dan sebagainya. Untuk orang seperti saya, saya mempunyai kefahaman tentang seks yang secukupnya dari segi sosial kerana saya telah diajar oleh ibu bapa saya, dan juga oleh gereja. Dengan ajaran itu, saya tidak terlibat dalam kegiatan seks terbuka dan sebagainya. Ajaran itu telah mengajar saya bahwaw seks merupakan sesuatu yang indah yang dikongsi oleh suami isteri dan bukan pasangan yang berlum berkahwin. Itulah sebabnya, ibu bapa memainkan peranan yang penting dalam hal ini, kerana mereka perlu mengajar anak mereka supaya mereka akan memiliki kefahaman dan kematangan yang sepatutnya. Bukan ibu bapa sahaja, tetapi kita semua sebagai sebuah masyarakat perlu menjadi orang yang boleh mendidik orang muda tentang isu seperti seks.”

“Adakah saudara berpendapat bahawa gejala ini yang berlelusa sekarang sesuatu yang agak baru untuk negara kita ataupun tidak ?”

“Bagi saya, ini bukan sesuatu yang baru. Mungkin orang ramai fikir ini sesuat yang baru kerana berita tempatan hanya meningkatkan isu membuang bayi kebelakangan ini. Saya fikir, hal ini memang sudah wujud untuk masa yang lama, hanya orang ramai tidak sedar tentangnya.”

That’s about all I said to them, as that was all they asked. It was rather interesting to answer them, and I’m quite sure they were rather interested as they heard my answers. In fact, I felt it was fun. Fun, really? Well, that’s because I haven’t had such a ‘conversation’ for a while, and it was good to share about some of the things that I stand for, and how I view the way certain things are.

As for the last question, they asked if the throwing away baby incidents were something new, I don’t think they would’ve bothered to ask that question if they had just thought about the number of children’s homes that exist in Malaysia. Every time people think of a charity to do, the words children’s home or ‘rumah anak yatim’ somehow pop into our minds straight away. Honestly, that is a very sad fact. That shows without statistics that we’re rather aware that children’s homes are in ‘abundance’. Of course, not every child in a home is a result of being left by their parents intentionally, some may have lost their parents to accidents and other incidents, but personally I believe that isn’t the main cause of children being in homes.

Vern starts a game of captain ball with the children Vern starts a game of captain ball with the children @ Praise Girls Home.

I hadn’t realised that initially, but it became so clear to me when that week itself on Friday, church friends and I incidentally, went to visit a children’s home. You can read about that here. You see, as I said to the people who interviewed me, those who involve themselves in free sex sometimes really don’t understand there are dire consequences to it. If you need some evidence, children’s homes that exist all over the globe would be a start.

Can you imagine, that these children, have been robbed of what they should have by right? Parents! Not only that, the people that robbed them of their parents are their parents themselves. It doesn’t get much worse than that honestly. You know, when my church friends and I were playing games with the children at the home, a couple of them were a little overzealous, and from a neutral perspective one would say over competitive and immature for his age. Generally, when people ask questions like, “Why is he like that?”, we often think the answer might be, “His parents didn’t bring him up right.” In this case, what parents?

Still, I believe not all hope is lost for these children that have been abandoned by their birth mothers and fathers. When we visited that home, there were smiles all around, and you certainly wouldn’t have sensed a hint of depression. Certainly, the joy of the Lord is their strength as it says in the bible as a part of Nehemiah 8:10. God has more than what it takes to turn the live of these kids around, a lot more than you and I might bother to know.

That is the reason why everybody needs to take up the role of being a responsible parent. You may ask, how can I be a parent if I’m not even married or don’t have a kid? Simple, just make sure you never get yourself into the position where you’ll have to ask yourself if you should keep the baby or not. That’s step one in being a parent, caring for a child who isn’t even born to you yet. Its a challenge, but definitely one worth taking.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

rule Invasion

I honestly thought that some people learned to be more considerate, to be more sensitive, to be a little more understanding of the fact that UTP by right, is a multicultural community. A lot of people, including myself, used to criticise them for the fact, they were exercising what they had no right to do.

They were the people that used to go around the campus telling couples minding their own business they should split up and not walk together. The same people also decided to give out flyers during a music event a couple of years on campus right outside the venue discouraging people from going. These people were trying to force people to obey their way of doing things.

That caused a lot of people to dislike them. It didn’t matter what background you were from, but if you were a person that valued having the freedom to choose, valued being given the benefit of the doubt and valued love over condemnation, you wouldn’t like those people too. Maybe that’s not true. Perhaps, we did like those people, they may have have been our friends, but their actions crossed a line they thought didn’t exist.

These people failed to recognise something, personal boundaries. Its as if they forgot that when you want to reach something as personal as somebody’s values, that person must allow you to reach it first. When you come in head on condemning people, you only portray yourself as being righteous, blameless without sin, but not one human is without sin. As you do that, you fail to love people, but succeed in inciting anger because you only consider yourself, your own values, and nothing of the others around you.

For a while, after much criticism from the community at large, it seemed like they finally got the message. Then, during the convocation carniaval, Convofair, I saw this huge banner and I wondered why did they put such a mood spoiling poster up on the tent. I didn’t have a close look at it, because you didn’t need to be close to know what it said, it was pretty large. Today, I finally found out who made these banners as I was walking to my lecture:

Anti-couple poster

Not for the first time has this society of people openly criticised the existence of couples on campus, or perhaps everywhere around the world. Honestly, I don’t need to be angry because I don’t have a girlfriend so this doesn’t quite apply to me, although this poster seems to suggest I shouldn’t even walk or sit next to someone of the opposite gender.

It’s either these people didn’t get the message, or those who did already left and forgot to tell those they left behind. Really, the banner is such an eyesore. I’ll give an example of what it may be like for an ordinary working person, imagine you wake up early in the morning and every time you drive to work, you have to pass by a large billboard that says, “DON’T SIN, OR GO TO HELL”

How many of you would be so inspired by that billboard? More people than not would get angry, why? Partially its because we’re all sinners by nature and none of us like hell. Still, the main reason would be because somebody decided only to expect the worst out of us instead of hoping for the best. You’d find me thinking, “Who on earth decided that we’re all terrorists that we need that billboard up there?”

I’ll be honest in saying that when I first say that banner, the first thought in my mind was, “Wow, another step backwards.” Again, this group of people doesn’t seem to understand they live in a multicultural, not to mention a multinational community on campus. If everybody on campus really belonged to that society of people, I wouldn’t complain, but that’s not how it is. I honestly don’t know why the university management approved that banner (I’m assuming it is).

If anybody from that society reads this blog entry, I want to say to you honestly, with love and without hatred, be caring and be wise in the way you do things, because I’m sure you’d rather have people see you as inspirers and not the moral police.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

being Alone

I don’t know why, but somehow I feel this entry is long overdue and is probably a manifestation of pent up feelings and unexplored ones that I chose to ignore. Its not that I had not noticed it, but it somehow it got magnified last night in such a way that something just cracked and I had to let it out.

I was walking around the site for Convofair (UTPs convocation outdoor carnival), to get away from a group assignment that I had become a little sick of doing. I went on my own, which is something I normally do in UTP. Usually when I go about doing daily routines, I don’t require people to tag along. I do it alone, because things just get done faster. That’s why you won’t see me having lunch or dinner with anybody unless I’ve followed somebody out to eat or its a slightly special occasion.

As I was passing by one of the booths showcasing countries of the various people studying in UTP, someone who noticed me asked a question.

“You came alone?”

“Yeah,” and i walked on.

I cannot explain to you why that question suddenly felt so piercing to me at that time. If I’d been asked that question a couple of hours earlier, I probably wouldn’t have cared but this time it was different. I realised something. No, not something, it was a collection of things, memories that suddenly decided to reappear and make me come to a conclusion I didn’t want to know.

I realised that I’m not really close to anyone anymore. It sounds emotionally needy and cliché, but those are the only words I know that can describe what I feel right now as I type this out. If I were to summarise everything that suddenly came to my mind, it was that I’m not as familiar with the friends I have now compared to when I first entered university. Its as if, the longer I spent my time in UTP, the further I grew away from them.

One thing about me, is that ever since high school, I’ve never really had a group of friends that i ‘hang out’ with. I used to be close with Wei Yang and Alex back then but once they left, I never really got the hang of other cliques, or I didn’t fit in at all. This is why I hated my time in upper secondary. Even in the most recent meet I had with those two friends, I felt so distant. I know I’ve mentioned this before in another blog entry somewhere.

Since then, most of the friends I’ve come to know, I’ve known them as individuals, almost never as part of a group. I’ve really appreciated those friendships because it helped engaging them on a personal level a lot better. There was much less that was superficial, because there’s not a lot a person can fake when you’re one on one. One of the reasons people may like having a ‘best friend’ is because they’re typically more real as people and that goes for me too.

One problem I’ve consistently faced is that I’ve always had to leave them, or they’ve had to leave me. The thing is, they don’t leave for a short time, but a really really long one and I feel alone again, and I sometimes selfishly feel, “Why go through all the trouble to befriend someone, if they just leave anyway?”

I don’t know if you’ve personally felt that kind of hurt, but I really have. It sucks more than you would like to imagine. Maybe one of the reasons for that is that in the past few years, its been hard for me to relate to the people around me, and I’ve had to force myself to actually do so. That helped me grow on a personal level I suppose, but I still miss what I lost, everyone does.

Even here in UTP, people that I used to know well, I feel like the relationships with them now exist now only for functional reasons or are kept out of mutual respect. The warmth no longer exists. As for the ones I’ve just begun to build, I slap myself in the face for not starting sooner, as I will leave them soon in just a couple months time. You may say, come on, just use Facebook. Let me tell you something, I hate social media networks. Social media is NOT a relationship builder. If so, why do I have a Facebook account? Despite the fact I hate the idea, the concept and the application, it still stands as my last resort to connect with the people that I can no longer meet.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not blaming other people for the predicament I’m in. I don’t believe that my friends remained as my friends for a ‘functional’ purpose but it just feels that way. I’m not trying to say that people are now cold towards me, its just a lot of things really aren’t the way I wish they were. That’s when I thought it’d be nice if there were things I could change, so that certain things would go back to the way they were, when I was happier.

You know, as I was walking around Convofair, anyone who I greeted was with somebody. I’m not talking about couples, but just people. Everybody was at least with a friend, I didn’t notice another person who wasn’t around one. That’s when I felt just like one of those commercials where they show everybody rushing around all coloured in grey with just one person in the middle standing still, feeling lost and confused. That’s when I decided to go back to my room, I didn’t want to be in that crowd anymore.

Actually, I do wonder if this is one of the reasons I can’t wait to go back to KL, so that I can restart again. How meaningless.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

fyp UTP

In UTP, a lot of people say that October is one of the busiest times of year for students. They’re not wrong at all. In fact, nothing could be closer to the truth. Somehow, fate has it that this is the busiest month of my semester. My to-do list has reached a new high for the second half of 2010.

One of the thing that concerns me most is my final year project (FYP), that has clung on to me like those iron balls clunked onto the feet of notorious prisoners so that they can’t move. Sometimes, people working in more technical fields or managing practical tasks say this, “I hate the paperwork.”

I think I can be included in that category. The deadline of submission for my FYP report is on the 20th of October, and there’s a lot that needs to be done. I still need more sources for the sake of my literature review, not to mention I’ll need to make a lot of updates based on the work I’ve done for the past couple of months.

Of course, there’s also finishing up the actual project itself, completing the coding. There’re still nagging errors that I haven’t the slightest clue how to fix and that needs to be fixed come the final presentation in November.

Putting the paperwork and technical work together, it all sums up in the grand scheme of things where we’re supposedly being moulded into well rounded students. I don’t know if that’s really happening, all I know is that I’m a little fed up of still having to carry FYP luggage around. I’m not the only one who feels this way mind you. There’ll be a minority of students who will have absolutely loved, had total belief and faith in their project and had utmost dedication to their FYP. The majority do it in mind with the objective being to graduate with a good mark. I will admit that I’m in the second category of people, the majority.  

Don’t get me wrong, I do not hate FYP and I do believe it to be necessary but its just a real pain sometimes. I guess a way to describe it would be like sick people that have to get repetitive treatments until they get better. They do it willingly because they know its good for them initially, but its an inconvenience to keep it up in the long run.

This ‘inconvenience’ or ‘ball chained to my foot’ scenario has led me and several others to a state of withdrawal syndrome. Its not that we don’t care, but we just don’t want to anymore. Its just like when soldiers go to war, and can’t be bothered with the reason they’re at war anymore, they just want to go home. Hopefully, yours truly wont go AWOL and still have some sort of reason to fight, like the guys who saved private Ryan.