On 100 things to do before I die…

Been buried under a mountain of work lately, and trawling through the usual selection of blogs, I came across Moo’s blog. Been an avid fan for a while now, but one particular post inspired me more than the rest, and it was her ‘to do’ list… I suppose this is a good time as any to start, or at the very least, put down mine… Here they are, in no particular order, other than which ones popped in my head first as I write…

1. Fall in love – Done.
2. Have the same person I’m in love with, fall in love with me – Done. (Easier said than done though… You have been warned!)
3. Get paid to travel the world – In Progress.
4. Get paid to write my crazy, zany thoughts – Done.
5. Read as many books as I can lay my hands on – In Progress.
6. Own my own home – In Progress.
7. Finish my law degree – Done.
8. Finish my psychology degree – Done.
9. Create a tropical garden in my own home (refer to #6) – In Progress.
10. Buy my own car – Done.
11. Climb a mountain – Done. (Kinabalu, with Boo)
12. Have my dream kitchen – In Progress.
13. Have my tropical-themed open-air bath, with a claw-footed bath tub – Soon, not enough moolah for it in new house.
14. Keep my family and friends close, and not take them for granted – Working on it!
15. Get married to the man I love, small and romantic wedding with live jazz and good food – Working on it.
16. Get married as mummy wishes, with three billion guests and a loud bang – Trying to avoid it.
17. Work on getting a dog certified in Search and Rescue, and actually doing it – In Progress.
18. Volunteer with MERCY/UNICEF etc – Done, In Progress.
19. Sky dive – In Progress, trying to get enough guts to do it.
20. Bungee jump – Done.
21. Survive Outward Bound School – Done.
22. See Mount Everest – Done. 2008 on the South Asia Expedition.
23. See Taj Mahal – Done. 2008 on the South Asia Expedition.
24. See a ‘live’ bubbling volcano – Done. Mount Semeru in Java.
25. Dive in Komodo Islands – Done.
26. Dive in Sipadan Islands – Done. Twice.
27. Keep the house clean – In Progress.
28. Buy a 42-inch Plasma TV – Done.
29. Buy a Macbook Pro – Done.
30. Have children – Soon.
31. Learn to cook good food – Done.
32. Organize my wardrobe – In Progress.
33. Complete the Umrah and Hajj pilgrimage – Soon.
34. Finish reading the Holy Quran – in Arabic and translation – In Progress.
35. See Petra and Abu Simbel.
36. Dive at the Great Barrier Reef.
37. Dive in Papua New Guinea.
38. Learn to ski / snowboard – Done. Can’t say I can do it, but I’ve tried!
39. Learn to surf – Done.
40. Learn to drive a four-wheeler – Done.
41. See the Big 5 in Africa.
42. See Mount Kilimanjaro.
43. See Machu Picchu.
44. Go to the Artic Circle.
45. See penguins in their natural habitat – Done.
46. Dive with sharks – Done.
47. Learn to sail – Done.
48. See the opera.
49. See Cats, Les Miserables, Fame, Miss Saigon in NYC.
50. Go to Jammu & Kashmir – Done.
51. Go to Tibet – Done.
52. See the Great Pyramids of Giza, and the Sphinx, sail on the Nile.
53. Get my PADI Rescue Certification – Working on it!
54. Make our house as environmentally friendly as possible – In Progress.
55. Catch the sunset at Tanah Lot Temple in Bali – Done.
56. Visit 150 countries before I die – In Progress.
57. Inspire someone to be a better person – Done. Corny, I know, but its something I feel like I must do.
58. Pray 5 times a day, every day – Working on it.
59. Lose weight – In Progress.
60. Write a book.
61. Help out with an animal / pet rescue organization – Done.
62. Open a free-meal kitchen for homeless people in KL.
63. Buy a piece of tanah somewhere out of KL, and build a holiday home.
64. Learn to sing.
65. Learn to salsa, especially since my significant other can do it!
66. Stick to going to the gym! – In Progress
67. Pledge my organs for donation when I die – Done.
68. Donate blood – Done, In Progress.
69. Become punctual – Working on it!
70. Own my own baking business – In Progress.
71. Make a million bucks before I turn 50 years old – Working on it.
72. Improve my asset management – In Progress.
73. Buy an electric or hybrid car to use daily.
74. Learn to ride a clutched bike.
75. Buy my M5 BMW.
76. Buy my BMW Touring bike.
77. Have a romantic honeymoon.
78. Backpack or overland in Europe.
79. Learn to speak at least one other language – Spanish or Japanese or French. Working on Spanish.
80. Become a good mother.
81. Become a responsible pet owner.
82. Have a good relationship with my significant other.
83. Have more shoes!
84. Have more handbags!
85. Forgive those who have done me wrong in the past, particularly my stepmother, who has tried to make my life as humanly miserable as she can – In Progress.
86. Take responsibility for my own actions – Done.
87. Not get sucked into substance abuse – ciggies or coffee! – Done.
88. Stop being a TV addict – Done.
89. Learn to live clutter-free – In Progress.
90. Dress better – Working on it!
91. Tame my unruly, crazy hair – Working on it!
92. Get LASIK surgery for my eyesight – Working on it! Not enough guts yet.
93. Run a marathon.
94. Join the Kinabalu Race to the Summit.
95. Give free tuition to underprivileged kids.
96. Buy my own diamonds – In Progress.
97. Have a meaningful conversation with Dad, lasting longer than 20 minutes, and not punctuated by grunts. (Dad is not the talky type)
98. Make peace with my mother – Done.
99. Take a cruise to the Antarctic.
100. Eat fugu in Japan.

I suppose, for a young person, I have achieved quite a bit of my very very long list. Some are more significant than others, while some are incredibly shallow and almost blonde, but all of them, eventually, I will try to complete. I would like to think that it’s a reminder of the things that I have not achieved, and that I should not rest on my not very many laurels and take life for granted. There is more out there, and we should always keep our dreams and aspirations close. Carpe diem!

Thanks all, for tolerating my insanely long post – Jasmine.

On what you read, sometimes ain’t what was said…

*sigh*

I’m sure my imagined audience has read or at the very least, heard about a certain HRH’s big booboo recently. If you haven’t heard, and been living in a cave for the past three days or so, this was what it was all about :

FATHI ARIS OMAR Says:
April 15, 2008 at 2:39 am

Sunday April 13, 2008

Tengku Faris: Don’t question Malay rights
By ZULKIFLI ABD RAHMAN/Sunday Star

KUALA LUMPUR: The special rights and privileges of Malays should not be questioned but the community should make every effort to improve and stay united, the Tengku Mahkota of Kelantan said.

Tengku Mohammad Faris Petra Sultan Ismail Petra reiterated that nobody should challenge Malay rights and privileges, adding that these developments were becoming apparent following the recent general elections.

“The Malay Rulers will act as a source of unity and loyalty among all the people as stated in the Constitution and Rukunegara.

“As such, the people should be united and no one should question the special rights and privileges of the Malays because it is quid pro quo in return for providing citizenships to 2.7 million people of other races who joined the Malay Federation.

“It is not appropriate for the other races to demand equal rights and privileges after they had already acquired their citizenships,” he said in his opening address at a Malay unity gathering held in conjunction with the Maulidur Rasul celebration at the Putra World Trade Centre yesterday.

The theme of the event, organised by a group of Malay NGOs named Barisan Bertindak Perpaduan Melayu (BBPM), was “Malay Unity is the Core of National Unity.”

The NGOs included the National Writers Alliance (Gapena), Federation of Peninsula Malay Students, Pekida and the Malaysian Islamic Consumers Association.

Tengku Mohammad Faris, however, reminded them that while they pursued stronger Malay unity, they should not ignore the rights of other races, such as freedom to practise their religions.

Apparently, this was NOT what he said. The text was written by a ‘government official’, we don’t know who. And apparently, HRH took the trouble of reworking the text, and presented a different speech. The amazing bit of ‘magic’ then, is how the original unworked text was given to the media, and how they amazingly took the given text verbatim and published it!!

I believe HRH can’t be that dim. No one is. It’s just not humanly possible. Did he not notice the magnamity and implications of the words? I believe he did, and that is why it was reworked. Why the spoken text was not distributed, is a mystery.

Is someone wagging the dog? Are we trying to create racial tensions and disharmony again? First they poked the Indians, didn’t work. Then they poked the Malays. Didn’t work. Tried poking the Chinese, didn’t work either. Now they’re just randomly poking left right and center, hoping someone would get pissed.

Malaysians, finally, are a mature and rational lot. After all, they did vote for a change. And they didn’t buy all the scare-mongering and what-ever-not underhanded tactics the BN fellas resorted to… So pray, that this too, will pass. Because I’m proud to say, Malaysians ain’t that dumb!

ps – Anyone have a thought about Ahmad Shabery’s words yesterday? How bloggers and cyber-whatevers are responsible for what they put on the net? Why wouldn’t they be? Unless they were just regurgitating untruths, and now need to run off before the truth gets out, eh?

Sleeping better lately, knowing that our nation is finally on the mend – Jasmine.

On dancing around the elephant…

*sigh*

This post, I feel flustered and at lost for words, but somehow it must be put down in writing. Living in Malaysia, it is hard to miss the current issue of pigs and pig-rearing in Selangor. Its all over and everywhere on the mainstream media and news last night, that the Pakatan Rakyat government in Selangor is allowing a pig-related project to take off in the vicinity of Sepang.

There has been a lot of talk – on the effects of pig-rearing lah, pollution created lah, and what ever else. There was even several below-the-belt comments – about PAS selling out their soul for allowing a pig-related industry to take off.

WTF??

What happened to tolerance and freedom of choice? Doesn’t Islam promote tolerance of thy neighbours? So what if one’s neighbours happens to rear pigs or eat pork? What difference does it make? They’re not Muslim, therefore not subject to the restriction of pork, right?

And then there’s the logic of disallowing an animal facility due to polution and all that… What about rearing cows and chickens for meat then? They don’t poop or pee? I’ve never heard of anyone raising such a stink about cows or chickens before ( pardon the pun 😛 ).

Lets not forget that apparently, the project was approved by the previous administration. And in Melaka and Negeri Sembilan, the state government makes piles of moolah from the pigs. Who gets the benefit? The ones in the corridors of power of the state, apparently. So why the stink now? Why not before?

While all of this brouhaha is going on, the people are conveniently and gently steered away from the big thing coming up this weekend. Organizers of the Black 14 Gathering are practically screaming hoarse trying to gather support. Apparently, come this weekend, DSAI will be free to participate in politics again. To celebrate, the Black 14 Gathering has been organized at the Kelab Sultan Sulaiman on Monday, 14th of April 2008. Don’t say I didn’t tell you it’ll start at 9pm.

It is as if there is a big elephant in the room, but everyone does not want to talk about it. Everyone is just dancing around it, and would rather talk about the chandelier instead. I will be sitting this gathering out. Being a small and insignificant one in the big scheme of things, I would prefer not to become somebody’s chessman, regardless of how insignificant my contribution will be…

Hoping that someone, anyone would finally say, “Eh, got elephant lah!” – Jasmine.

On khalwat, and not being Muslim…

A serious piece, for a change… For my dear sis, who found this development truly disquieting…

Concerns have been expressed about proposals made at the conclusion of a seminar organized by the Islamic Institute of Understanding Malaysia (IKIM) and the Syariah Judiciary Department recently. As reported by the media (‘Proposal to prosecute non-Muslims for khalwat’, The Star, 3rd April 2008), these proposals include the prosecution of non-muslim parties to the offence of khalwat, though in the civil courts, increasing the penalties to include whipping for the syariah offences of khalwat, prostitution, consuming alcohol and involvement in gambling activities and the establishment of rehabilitation centres for those convicted of moral and faith offences. Though reference is also made in the media to a proposal concerning apostasy, no details have been given. Judging by the other proposals, it would not be improbable that it proposes the criminalization of apostasy.

In a nutshell, these proposals, formulated as a draft resolution, which is to be submitted to the Attorney General’s Chambers, aim at increasing the role of Islamic law in the public life of Malaysians. As I have said before, in my view, the extent to which Islamic law has been made to be applicable in the public law sphere in Malaysia is not supported by the Federal Constitution. The Constitutional framework envisaged Islamic law being relevant only to the personal law of persons professing the religion of Islam to the extent that the same did not conflict with the fundamental liberties of these individuals. We have however seen how constitutional safeguards have been eroded through judicial pronouncements, a situation which has culminated in a deeply entrenched mindset that the Islamic legal system is legitimately a system of parallel standing to the secular civil law system.

The draft resolution of the seminar reflects this mindset. It is eerily consistent with the statement issued by a coalition of Islamic NGOs shortly before the General Election, one which, in effect, called for the implementation of Islamic State measures.

I do not agree with the correctness of these views. As I have said elsewhere, the Federal Constitution does not envisage the establishment of an Islamic State nor does it allow for the implementation of measures aimed at the articulation of Islamic law in public life. For this to be permitted, the Federal Constitution must be amended. Until this is done, no matter how well intentioned proposals to this effect are, they must remain as just that, proposals.

It is wholly repugnant to any notion of a united, harmonious Malaysia for non-Muslims to be convicted, directly or indirectly, of offences that might rather ambiguously be called Islamic moral or faith offences. In my view, it is equally repugnant to subject Muslims to moral policing. I believe that there is constitutional basis for rejecting the validity of such offences though this remains, as yet, unarticulated in the courts.

The proposals are basis for grave concern for two reasons. Firstly, apart from the questionable legality of the proposals, they are deeply worrying for the fact of whose views they are. In this I do not intend to refer to individuals but rather the agencies involved. IKIM is the government linked agency that is charged with the articulation of Islam Hadhari. The Syariah Judiciary department is the department charged with overseeing the administration of Islamic law through the syariah courts. The resolution that is being submitted could therefore be said to be a resolution of agencies of the Government and are, to that end, potentially of great influence. This state of affairs is not easily reconciled with the declared vision of the Barisan Nasional Federal Government of a progressive and moderate nation. Not only do the proposals smack of ‘talibanism’, they have quite predictably failed to address the more fundamental problems affecting the ummah in Malaysia in their not unusual preference of form over substance.

Secondly, the proposals suggest an intent on the part of the agencies concerned to persist in attempts to perpetuate divisive delineations of race and religion as well as the underlying supremacist positioning. Coming so soon after the devastating results of the General Election, I cannot help but ask whether the proposals are in a way an attempt to up the ante, so to speak, in what is already a very confused state of affairs. Whatever the case, civil society and the political parties must be vigilant in ensuring that responses are measured and tactful. Were they the views of individuals who were in the extremist minority, aggressive responses might not have any serious consequences. These views are however being presented as the views of IKIM and the Syariah Judiciary Department. Responses carry with them the possibility of serious reprisal or repercussions.

As to how this reflects on the Barisan Nasional Federal Government, much will depend on how the Government responds. Civil society is entitled to expect a response. Religious supremacism was one of the key issues in the last General Election and the Adbdullah Badawi administration has promised reforms across the board. This could be one of the first tests of the sincerity of the administration. A failure to respond from a moderate, progressive and constitutional perspective will further convince Malaysians that the Government only pays lip service to notions of unity and harmony.

On a lighter note, what about same-gender couples? They’re not committing khalwat? Forget about same religion or not… Food for thought, ehh?

Wondering when our society will finally mature into a more tolerant one – Jasmine.

On visionary predictions?

Was sent this video by a good friend of mine, who thought I might enjoy it.

Truly appreciating the genius of our beloved late P. Ramlee – Jasmine.