Thursday, April 26, 2007

Raja Zarith Sofia lagi

Aku copy article ni coz aku suka baca tulisan dia. Just keep to ensure tak hilang.

Another article from Raja Zarith Idris about floods in Johor

In the eye of the storm


AS I waved goodbye to everyone at what should have been our last local Red Crescent function on Dec 17, I reminded them: “No SMS please, I am on holiday!” All my children were home for the next two weeks and it would be wonderful to be a complete family again.

Two days later, I received a text message on my mobile phone stating that about 700 villagers had been evacuated to a school hall in the Skudai area of Johor Baru, after their village had been flooded.

By the next day, the number had gone up; there were about over a thousand or more men, women and children at the school hall, some looking stunned and a little bit lost, huddled together in little groups. These were people of little means and they were used to taking orders from the authorities. Go here, go there. They had no choice, they could not question why.

The school hall also echoed with the cries of restless babies. I asked some children what they had been doing since they were taken there the day before. They shrugged. Would they like some toys? They nodded.

I was going to be their benevolent “hero” who would buy up a whole toy store for them until a friend asked me exactly how many children would be getting toys from me. She pointed out that if I were to buy a ball for one little boy, I would have to buy one for all the other little boys who were there, and there were easily 200 of them. And what about the little girls? That was my first lesson in “logistics”, where being generous and being practical are two completely different things.

So, onto the next lot of questions. The women said they had no other clothes apart from what they had worn the day before. The ladies from Mawar (Majlis Wanita Johor) made notes of what would be needed: T-shirts, sarongs, disposable nappies for the babies, undergarments for the women. In fact, many days later, and to dozens of other people, I would sound terribly boring as I repeated that the women would need undergarments and sanitary items.

I was getting a crash course in disaster management In a moment of panic, I sent a text message to MRCS deputy chairman Hisham Hashim, who had been to countries that had experienced both natural disasters and armed conflicts. He replied: “Welcome to the real world of Red Cross/Red Crescent!” No tips on disaster management there.

At the school canteen, clouds of steam from huge cooking pots rose into the damp air, as busy but chatty cooks prepared lunch. The cooks (they too came from the same flooded village) said they would be serving four meals a day for the people who would call the school hall home for the coming weeks. As we chatted, sackloads of rice were being delivered to the “kitchen”. There were cartons of eggs piled up on the floor. This was “disaster management” theory made real. And everyone was working together: the MP, the village headman, the district officer and the volunteers which included a group of Buddhists who were among the first to offer help but who left just as quietly as they had come. I

I had expected to see sadness in this sea of faces, and was surprised that there were many who could still manage a smile. These were hardy people, after all, who were used to a difficult life. They weren’t puny, spoilt, luxury-loving persons like me.

At a mosque that was used to house 200 flood victims, we were invited to have lunch. We ate off paper plates. The food was simple: plain rice, ikan kering, sambal belacan, telur goreng (omelette) and kobis masak lemak (cabbage in coconut milk gravy). I have been to a few sumptuous banquets but this was one of the most memorable meals I’ve had.

I met other people in other districts. I listened to variations of the same story: of having lost all that had taken years to save up, and losing everything within minutes of fast rising floodwaters. I heard stories of heroism and survival.

The tragedy of the 2004 tsunami affected us all because of what we could see on TV and in newspapers. The tsunami was a natural disaster of a magnitude and scale the world has not seen before. By comparison, the floods here in Johor may not be considered as catastrophic – with the loss of thousands of lives – but because it happened here, in our own backyard, we cannot but be affected by it. It may appear small in scale but it still involved more than 80,000 people who have had to leave their homes. We surely cannot just look away.

Some remained stoic and said: “Alhamdulillah, our families are safe.” Others were overcome by an uncertain and bleak future. One young mother of four told me that her husband held two jobs so that he could provide for their children. she said: “We are poor. We work hard. But now everything that we’ve worked for is gone. Everything.”

In Batu Pahat, in a community hall that was used to shelter more than 2,000 flood victims, an angry middle-aged man pointed at the villagers and said to me: “You write about this. Why were we so quick to respond to the tsunami when it happened in other countries but we are slower to react when it’s our own people who have lost their homes? Why doesn’t anyone see this as a tragedy and a disaster? There are people who live in towns and cities but they are not rich folk. They are the urban poor. Whenever there are fires or floods, they suffer.”

In a few weeks from now, when there is less news about the floods, and when we’re told that the floodwaters are receding, we will begin to forget about these villagers and townspeople whose lives have been changed forever.

But for those whose houses had been submerged under many feet of muddy water, it is just the beginning. They will have to skimp and save all over again. They will have to work harder than before because what belongings they had accumulated over many years have all gone.

That’s what we should put on our diaries and calendars next month as a little note: it’s just the beginning.

Ini gambar yg aku dapt dari forum.cari

Emak aku rasanya ada simpan gambar masa RZS kahwin dgn TMJ. Kalau ada lagi aku boleh tempek kat sini..

A dose of Humour is good medicine
WHEN life becomes unbearably serious, adding a touch of humour into our lives will help to soothe our aching souls. It is true that laughter is the best medicine, even during times when tears seem the only option. That was what I did when faced with grieving friends, the shadow of tears and a plane crash on what was a normal, bright sunny afternoon. I was visiting the widow of a family friend and was looking at photos of his funeral when my second son phoned. His voice a little shaky, he said his plane had crashed during his daily flight training. In the next few minutes, I was calmly phoning my husband, family members and our family doctor, and sending text messages to others. It was only after I had given instructions to staff and had packed my things for a one-night stay at the hospital that I allowed myself to think of my son in a little plane hundreds of feet from the ground and of his instructor’s decision to crash-land. I felt as if I was in a huge metal cocktail shaker and I was not just being shaken but also stirred. My mind was just a whirlpool of conflicting emotions. For a few moments, in the privacy of my home, I became a blabbering idiot. I prayed, not asking Allah for more but thanking Him for protecting my son and his instructor from crashlanding into the nearby pylons, the jagged timber pieces or the many houses that they were flying over. If not for that tiny piece of bamboo grove they saw from the air, and which they aimed for to absorb the impact of their planned crash landing ... the alternatives are too terrible to contemplate. Regardless of what others thought, whether they smirked or sympathised, I chose to think of that crash landing as a miracle. It was perhaps a strange coincidence that just three hours before my son’s call, I had read the following: “... Each has a succession of angels in front and behind, keeping him safe by Allah’s command.” (Surah Ar-Rad, verse 10-11, from The World of The Angels by Sheikh ‘Abdu’l-Hamid Kishk.) Having gone through a difficult time both emotionally and spiritually, the book I brought with me to the hospital was not at all religious in tone, and neither was it an epic novel. I didn’t want to contemplate the meaning of life any more, not if it meant that I would be all choked up with tears again. I chose instead Jeremy Clarkson’s book, And Another Thing – The World According To Clarkson Vol. 2, the second compilation of articles he had written for the Sunday Times of London. I welcomed his irreverence for all things politically correct as, sitting in an armchair in a hospital room in the middle of the night, I tried to calm my nerves. It was comforting (to me, anyway) to know that someone else, although half a world away, has summed up what I feel is wrong with societies globally: we don’t allow ourselves time to rest or relax. If we do take time to have a nap, read a book, or enjoy a cup of coffee, it is often followed later by many hours of guilt. So my thanks go to Clarkson for saying that there’s something seriously wrong when we all have to justify taking lunch breaks and other meals in this the new global 24-hour society. “If we do go out for lunch in Britain, it’s only an excuse to get some work done. And so is dinner, and so, increasingly, is breakfast. In fact, we’re running out of meals over which we can do deals. Soon, people will be buying and selling products over a midnight feast ...” I am also sure more people are realising that the generation gap between children and their parents is growing wider by the day. Take the mobile phone as an example: there are two functions I require from it – to make and receive phone calls, and to send and receive text messages. That’s all. But young people nowadays expect their mobile phones to do everything for them. Again, Clarkson succinctly says it all when he writes: “... In essence, if you buy one of these phones, you are getting a Filofax, a television, a cinema, a portal to the Internet, a computer, a video camera and a photograph album. Great, but is it necessary?” Nevertheless, the mobile phone served its main purpose as far as I am concerned the day that my son called to say his training aircraft had crashed. My family and I have been to the world of “what if” and back. Without letting my son know that it’s a cruel and nasty world out there, I am aware that there are many people who couldn’t have cared less what happened to me. Unlike them, however, I can’t stay emotionally detached when I read of parents whose child had drowned, or of children mourning the deaths of their parents. Every picture of a parent’s weeping face in the newspapers makes me flinch. So, even while I read Clarkson’s book and am giggling in the darkness of my bedroom, it doesn’t mean I care less about everyone and everything that makes this country Negaraku. And, truth be told, I am very proud of the fact that our 19-year-old son is part of our army, even if he does own a mobile phone that does more than let us hear his voice.

Raja Zarith Sofia

I really admire Raja Zarith Sofia. Baginda anakanda Almarhum Sultan Idris, Sultan Perak b4 Raja Azlan Shah. Masa baginda kahwin dgn TMJ dulu mmg gempak satu Malaysia. Rasanya itu antara perkahwinan kerabat yg penting dlm sejarah. Selapas tu waris sultan yg kahwin dgn kerabat cuma TMP and Tuanku Azizah je.

Aku admire dia bukan setakat dia cantik dan berasal dari Perak (coz aku pun 'cantik' dan berasal dari perak jugak), tapi yg paling penting the way her thinking dan kebijaksanaannya.

Ini one of atricle (maybe from NSTP) yg aku amik from forum.cari. Article ni mmg berkait dgn movie PGL yg Tiara produced.

Raja Zarith Idris September 10:Original article --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The legendary Puteri Gunung Ledang is part of our rich heritage and should not be used to glorify another culture at the expense of our own. RAJA ZARITH IDRIS writes.

MY father used to throw dates and historical anecdotes at me, willing me to catch what he said in mid-air. He told me that I was named after Zaris Gangga from the kingdom of Gangga Negara, which was established in the 11th century at a site where present-day Dinding, Bruas and and Manjung in Perak are. Whether for good or bad, I bear that name still, and hope that my children will name one of their daughters after me one day.

My father also explained why Perak Sultans do not wear mahkota (crowns) at their pertabalan (installation) ceremony.

After the Portuguese captured Malacca in 1511, Sultan Mahmud Shah, the last Sultan of Malacca, established a new court in Johor, and attacked them in 1517, 1520 and 1521. He then sailed to Kampar, in Sumatra, just before he died. An entourage from Perak came to his court and asked for his permission to allow one of his sons to rule Perak. He agreed and commanded his son, Raja Muzaffar Shah, to sail to Perak, and to take with him all the royal regalia that once belonged to Malacca. While sailing to the mouth of the Perak River, Raja Muzaffar Shah's ship became stuck in the mud. Fearing that the ship would capsize because it was too heavy, he tried to lighten it by throwing as many objects overboard as possible. Finally, he threw the mahkota (crown) into the water. By coincidence, the ship then came free and could sail on. When he was made ruler of Perak, Sultan Muzaffar Shah (1528-1549) issued a decree that, from that day on, none of his heirs, when installed as Sultan, could wear a mahkota.

Despite the loss of the mahkota, the rest of the Malacca royal regalia was still in Sultan Muzaffar Shah's possession. This included the Taming Sari kris, which apparently belonged to Hang Tuah, the famed Malacca a warrior. The Taming Sari is tucked into the bengkong (waist sash) of each Sultan of Perak on the day that he is installed as ruler of the state.

For many centuries now, it has been in the safekeeping of successive Sultans. I remember the times my father allowed me to hold the Taming Sari in my hands. On its golden hilt were rubies of a pale pink colour, like faded flowers. A green enamel was painted onto the gold base of the kris. The blade was darkly stained, a mixture of shades of brown, grey and deep red. Were the deep, dark reds on the tip of the blade merely rust or are they the stains of the blood of those who were slain by it? History supports the claim of the Perak royal family as direct descendants of the Malacca Sultanate: "Perak's prestige rose considerably when a new dynasty was established by Sultan Muzaffar Shah, a son of Sultan Mahmud Shah, the last ruler of Melaka...

The founding of Perak also signified a further extension of Melaka's Malay culture, for the reign of Sultan Muzaffar Shah ... brought not only refugee members of the Melaka court, but also its customs and traditions."

Historical events are also noted in one of the most respected pieces of Malay literature, the Sejarah Melayu, which has been attributed to Tun Sri Lanang. It was written not just as a historical account but also "to 'set forth the genealogy of the Malay rajas and the ceremonial of their courts so that this can be heard by (the king's) descendants...' " (A History of Malaysia by Barbara Watson Andaya and Leonard Y. Andaya, 1982, second edition 2001.) When I wrote the children's book, Puteri Gunung Ledang (Penerbit Fajar Bakti, 1995), some journalists who reviewed it wondered if I could begin a revival of literature written by those within palace walls, much in the same way that Tun Sri Lanang, a palace courtier, wrote Sejarah Melayu.

Flattering though the comparison may be, I know that nothing that I have written thus far can be compared to Tun Sri Lanang's Sejarah Melayu, which has stood both the test of time and the scrutiny of scholars. My ability to string more than two sentences together is but like the shadow of a grain of rice compared to the bountiful harvest that was Tun Sri Lanang's gift to Malay literature. My main concern in re-telling Puteri Gunung Ledang was that it should remain as Malaysian as possible. Since Islam is the official religion of Malaysia, and because I, too, am Muslim, I did not want to offend others of my faith and so I depicted the Puteri as wearing baju kurung or baju kebaya. I grew to love the princess I had created in words and pictures. Thus, when the locally-produced film Puteri Gunung Ledang portrays the legendary princess as being part of a royal court from another country, I was crushed. Is it so very awful to portray Puteri Gunung Ledang as Malaysian? Was Puteri Gunung Ledang real? We do not know.

She had been given life by word of mouth, from one family to another, from one generation to the next. The legend of Puteri Gunung Ledang belongs to all Malaysians. Most of us are used to the idea that she was a mysterious woman bred, if not born, in this wonderful land we call our home. Artistic licence allows Puteri Gunung Ledang to assume any identity that her creators have chosen for her, and so in the film of the same name, we are told that she came from the kingdom of Majapahit.

Since she was said to have left Majapahit to be near Hang Tuah during Sultan Mahmud's reign, then it places her at or near the time of the Portuguese conquest of Malacca in 1511. The same artistic licence indeed gives the rest of us endless possibilities as regards her real identity. Perhaps she was a member of Portuguese nobility and bore the name Ana Crisitina Gaminha de Azevedo. Perhaps she was one of the many "treasures" that Admiral Zheng He brought from China. Who knows, she and Mahsuri of Langkawi may be of the same bloodline. The present Johor royal family came into power from the time of Temenggong Daeng Ibrahim (18th ruler of Johor) and is proud of the state's heritage, including its store of legends. What the Johor royal family share with the other royal families of Malaysia is pride in successfully establishing a Malaysian rather than a Javanese identity.

Even though most of us, as part of kerabat diraja (royal lineage), know that our ancestors came from either Sumatra or Java, we also know that we must adapt ourselves to ever-changing sensibilities and sensitivities. The French saying, Plus ca change, plus ca meme chose describes this necessity to change with the times. For example, after the Melaka Sultans became Muslims, the women of the court wore loosely-fitted baju kebaya or baju kurung rather than bare their shoulders and arms the way that their Hindu ancestors did.

Each royal court has its own Adat Istiadat Istana (palace ceremonies). It seems strange then that none of them were asked to contribute details about such ceremonies when the producers of Puteri Gunung Ledang decided to make a film about the legendary princess. It also beggars belief that "research" was done at a kraton (a Javanese word for palace) in Indonesia, away from the Malaysian istana (palaces) of Kedah, Perlis, Trengganu, Kelantan, Selangor, Pahang, Negri Sembilan, Perak and Johor.

If Malaysian istana ceremonies are to be sniffed at, why then is there such great interest every year as to whom will be conferred the title of "Datuk" by the Sultan of each of the nine states? Why does the title carry so much more weight than an "Encik"? The wife of a "Datuk" becomes a "Datin" and this title also accounts for the decisions of some young women to marry unattractive, balding older men.

For the sake of a love triangle that never happened, we are hoodwinked into believing that a legendary princess of whom our grandparents and parents talked about, is not our own. I believe that all of us bear the responsibility to ensure that Malaysian legends, with or without artistic licence, are not used as vehicles for personal fame nor to glorify the ways of another culture at the expense of our own.

I realise that by putting forth my grievances on paper, I make myself the target for those who think that all Malaysians should be proud of its first multi-million ringgit epic movie. If the same blood of the Melaka Sultans flow in my veins, even if it be just a drop, and even if my ancestors, such as Sultan Mahmud Shah, were awful men, let me say that a great love for my heritage and my country means that I must make a stand, regardless of the criticisms. Keranamu Malaysia -- for you, Malaysia, let not our blood nor those of our ancestors either flow or be shed in vain.

* Raja Zarith is the daughter of Almarhum Sultan Idris Shah of Perak (33rd Sultan of Perak). The line of sultans have been unbroken since the death of Sultan Mahmud, the last Sultan of Perak. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Honours degree in Chinese Studies from Oxford University.

Another article

Sunday December 10, 2006
To live without fear
Mind Matters

ABOUT three weeks ago, I listened to Nilly Abu Arqub, a young Palestinian mother, as she talked about her journey to the hospital prior to the birth of her second child.

The ambulance she was in swerved around Israeli tanks that blocked the roads to the hospital. As she lay in pain, she could see the sky darken with explosions. She heard the heavy shelling around her. What should have been a car ride of not more than 10 minutes dragged on for more than an hour.

This was part of what civilians who lived in Ramallah experienced in 2002, when the Israeli Defence Forces pounded the city because they wanted to destroy Yasser Arafat’s headquarters there.

During our conversation, I told her that in Malaysia, apart from women who lived in remote villages, most of us would be able to have our babies at the hospital. If our car or the ambulance couldn’t get to the hospital in time, it would not be because enemy tanks were blocking the way but because there had been a flash flood, or a storm, and trees had fallen onto the roads.

What Nilly was describing to me wasn’t something that is part of daily life in Malaysia.

When I e-mailed her to ask if I could use her real name and for her to add more details to what she had told me, this was what she wrote:

“... when the Israeli soldiers took Ali, my baby, away from me, he was just a few hours old. I was in the ambulance on my way home. The roads were all full of tanks. The soldiers wanted to check if I held a grenade or something. I needed to get an injection because my blood group is O-negative and it was not available in Alreaieh Hospital where I had my baby, so my doctor told me to go to the Red Crescent hospital. After the soldiers checked Ali, a tank followed the ambulance we were in. At the hospital, I climbed down from the ambulance, holding my son in my arms, and four soldiers followed the nurse and me, to make sure that I was not lying and I really needed my injection...”

I could still hear Nilly’s voice. It kept whirling in my mind like a sad and distant melody when I read about the couple in Kuala Lumpur who had forced their three sons to drink bleaching liquid and to inhale gas, before they tried to take their own lives too. They claimed they were being hounded by loan sharks.

The three boys – Seah Siew Tong, 8, Siew Mun, 10, and Siew Cheung, 12 – died but the parents survived.

It didn’t make sense. I had heard what a woman a world away from here went through, mere hours after giving birth to her baby. Would we value our children’s lives more if we lived in a country where there is armed conflict or if we are faced with hunger and disasters?

Why, for example, do women in the Congo walk for days – because there are no roads and no cars – to get to places of safety, for themselves and for their babies?

Why did the parents in Sri Lanka, India, Thailand and Indonesia during the tsunami try so hard not to let go of their children’s hands to prevent them from being swept away?

Is fear in all its different facets the cause as well as the result of human suffering?

The parents of three boys lived in absolute fear of the loan sharks who preyed upon them, so much so that they decided upon the most extreme of actions. In a country not at war, we fear those who look like us and speak our language.

In Palestine, a young mother lived in fear too: of gunfire hitting the ambulance that she and her newborn were travelling in.

In countries where the people are used to armed conflicts, the enemy is easier to detect because they speak a different language, they wear uniforms and they do not conceal their knives or guns behind their backs.

In his statement, MCA president Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting said: “Now it is more important to focus on how to educate the public not to repeat such tragedies.”

Part of that education must involve parents not harming their children for whatever reason.

Perhaps the rest of us shouldn’t be so smug and judgmental because we are leading comfortable lives and are not at the mercy of aggressive loan sharks.

My last question to Nilly was: If you can have one dream, what would it be? She replied, “My dream is to go all over the world and ask all decision-makers ‘WHY?’ Give a chance for all the mothers and children all over the world and in Palestine to live without pain, stop our tears. Our children in Palestine and outside Palestine deserve to live, grow, play, learn without any fears...”

I believe that in that one line she said it all.

That’s what we all should wish for when we think of our children: that they be given the chance to live without any fears, whether it be of loan sharks from our own country or armed soldiers from another.