Monday, January 23, 2012

Small Details Are What Life Is All About?

First there is a time when we believe everything, then for a little while we believe with discrimination, then we believe nothing whatever, and then we believe everything again - and, moreover, give reasons why we believe.
Georg Christoph Lichtenberg
(1742 - 1799)

You think you know something. Anything. You read. You listen. You discuss. You summarize what you knew. Or you think you knew. 

You pick a stand based on what you knew. Based on the summary of what you knew. You leave out the small details that you deem unimportant. Quite often, the summary is based upon generalization.

Generalization is powerful. Everything has a pattern. Fractals, numbers. In nature. In concrete. Either you find the formulas, or you create one. One size may not fit all. You create clusters of formulas. Among these clusters you choose what you can fit into categories. The process continues. It's a pattern. A repetition. Only at different scales.

Now. How do you choose the unimportant details? Is it simply because it's out of your chosen pattern? Or you discriminate the details and miss the actual pattern at a bigger scale? 

Just because we aren't well exposed to the "small" details, it doesn't mean that it's right to be taken for granted. What would an integration be without the constant C? It would be impossible to solve the problems. In short, even the smallest detail matters. 

Please don't take anything for granted. What we think is small may already be at large but we're denying the sense that we have to acknowledge that. They may not be the majority but they're there, screaming to be heard and to be put into the rightful equation. Small  quantities does not imply its degrees of importance in the same measurement. Proverb said

"Good things come in small packages" . 

Yes, that's exactly another generalisation but no, it's not completely absurd. 

Yes, discrimination is a big word. So be extra careful with our judgement. Pick ideas wisely. Also, let's have a bit of compassion for the people around us. Life would be much easier with more love and acceptance for diversity in life. 

In the end, we will conserve only what we love. We will love only what we understand. We will understand only what we are taught - Babu Dioum 1968

Saturday, January 21, 2012

One month away from Civilisation

3 days ago marked the day that I've been home for a month. 

People talks a lot about Culture Shock. I experience Reverse-Culture Shock. Frankly, it's worst re-adapting than adapting to new environment. For me, that is. 

I tried to attend a religious talk this evening. The talk was scheduled at 9pm. My parents and I arrived at the hall before 9pm. From outside the hall I could still hear that Isya' prayer in mosque was not yet over. We sat in the hall, waiting for the speakers to turn up. Being quite an organizer myself, I understand the half-an-hour rule. It's half an hour of arrival for Malaysians. I reckoned the talk will start at 9.30pm. Eventually, the chairman started talking, at 9.50pm. (Yes. We waited for 50 freaking minutes) My mum has to work tomorrow so we left half an hour later. My mum left first, I followed later. She told me there were still people complaining outside that the talk has started when they themselves just got there at 10-ish! (Oh come, on!)

From my house I could hear the somewhat loud and highly energetic talk still going on at 11.56pm. The talk ended at midnight.

While Time is a classic concern of the Malaysians, particularly Malays hence "Janji Melayu", the thing that we take for granted always is the respect for minority. It seems so convenient for this Muslims majority country to put Quran recital or religious talk recording on loudspeaker for hours. For all to hear, including the non-Muslims of the entire town or village. Apparently, the loudspeaker is indeed LOUD.

While I still appreciate the Azan being on loudspeaker, I find other recordings are annoying for people who're sleeping, showering, resting, or do other non-spiritual things (like in the toilet). 

I also find it disrespectful of people other beliefs who need not to be told that they need to be converted. Over. and over again.  (Dear non-Muslim fellows, please don't tell me you're not offended. I would if I were you)

I also find it irritating to hear Imams preaching about political scam while they just want to put down political parties of their lesser interest. (In fact, I don't really care what politicians say. I'd rather find someone who works with that politician talks.) 

It is true that we wish to preach truth. We want to preach religion. To Muslims and non-Muslims alike. But if we don't practice respect, none of our speeches matter.  The message most likely won't get through.

If we don't respect time, we're wasting time. Q103: 1-3. (I'm sure a lot of people memorise these powerful verses).

If we don't respect other people, don't blame people when they play deaf or blind. (What else to hear if what you hear is noise and what else to see if what you see is just a mess)

I call this a reverse culture shock mainly because of the punctuality of the Western culture that I admire and also the respect that they practice in most cases especially when it involves privacy. I'm not saying that our country is bad. I'm just saying that there are certain things that hasn't changed while it should have changed. And there are certain things that are just getting worst. 

There are more to my Reverse-Culture Shock but mainly I keep it from public, including my family. It is for me to experience and deal with. What I put above, is for all to see and reconsider. What have we done to our culture and community?

P/s: Alright, I do agree with the anonymous reader who claims that the title is an overstatement. Frankly, it was just a catch to get people reading. Malaysians still lack of reading culture. I apologize. I still love my country for what it's worth.