Thursday, May 27, 2010

Nur Kasih

Barely two days back in Malaysia and my mum was already eagerly promoting the new supposedly exciting Malaysian drama called Nur Kasih, which according to her had all Malaysians glued to the television for those at home, and laptops if they’re overseas. To be honest, I was reluctant to watch it at first because I am not a Malay drama fan. But I do like Kabir Bhatia, the director. And I do try to show appreciation to talented Malaysians where it is deserved. Plus, it’s not like my husband and I have other things to do at home. So we did – we watched. My brother wanted me to do a review on the show, but instead of doing a typical review, I’d like to comment on particular things about the show.

In general, I do like the plot. It’s interesting. I guess I can’t complain much about the ending as a Malay drama won’t be a Malay drama if it’s not predictable. Basically Nur Kasih is about two brothers, both on either end of the spectrum. Because of the wish of a dying father, the lives of both brothers were met with obstacles one after another.

Now, firstly I’d like to comment on the fact that they put the ‘good brother’ in Cairo, and the other one in Sydney. It’s a simplistic way to tell the story, I know. Not a bad one, but too old fashioned. "Those who go to more western countries to further their studies have a higher tendency to fall off the right path." I may be a bit too emotional in writing this, but I’m ashamed and embarrassed for those who think so. In my opinion, when one goes to a country where one is a minority, it reinforces one’s identity thus further pushes one to stay on the right track. It is when one is surrounded by his or her people that are doing wrong that one feels ‘comfortable’ in acting the same way. For example, I do have friends in our many local universities, including those Islamic universities and colleges. But I’ve frequently heard more stories about them drinking, doing drugs, and having pre-marital sex – yes including students of those universities. It’s because when they see their peers doing it, they’ll feel like outsiders if they don’t. But in a place where no one knows your name, you are under less pressure except to live your own life.

Secondly, the idea of early marriage. I support the drama in its attempt to prove that one does not automatically fail if one marries early, especially with little financial support. It is do-able with the right attitude. Maybe I was a bit frustrated when Nur, the title name, felt like she had to give up her dreams when she got married. She does not need to feel so if she really has the gut to face both responsibilities head-on. I hope the ‘right persons’ are reading what I’m about to write: being married while studying is difficult. Instead of just having to focus on getting good grades, one needs to focus on one’s spouse too. Furthermore, as Muslims it’s not just about cooking and cleaning, it’s much more. It’s about being partners. It’s about being leaders. It’s about being forgiving. It’s not easy living with another person for the first time. It’s not. It takes a lot of work and compromises. When they say one needs to be ready, it’s not financially, it’s mentally. That’s why one needs to be married with someone one loves. Someone you truly love. Someone who can change the way you view life. Someone who can make you a better person. It’s not about wiping stain off your spouse’s cheeks, it’s about holding the other’s hand firmer even after countless screams and tears. I believe that is the main idea behind Nur Kasih. Don’t underestimate the power of a marriage IF it is entered whole-heartedly.

Finally, Nur Kasih is special in its idea of change. People can change. No human is born evil, nor is there anyone born perfect. I do believe that the thing that molds a person into himself, more than anything else, is his experience whilst growing up. That is why the roles played by parents are very important. This takes us back to the idea of responsibility in a marriage. Please, don’t have kids if you’re not ready to answer to Allah if you die tomorrow. They are your biggest responsibility. That does not mean you could do anything to them; you need to respect and see them as persons, as equals. Talk to them and don’t easily reach for the cane as it is the last resort according to our Prophet (pbuh). They may be hard to understand. They may be different from you. But they’re yours. Allah is fair. Mischievous children are not bad children, just misunderstood. But of course, one should not expect to have angelic sons or daughters if one does not practice what’s asked of them too. Trust in God, and He’ll trust you.

So that’s my two cents’ worth on Nur Kasih. If you love a good story, beautiful cinematography, and is looking for food for the soul, I highly recommend Nur Kasih.


p/s: Rassyid and I did not watch the current repeats on TV3, my parents actually bought the collector's DVD box.

Monday, May 3, 2010

A Walk Alone

The smell of freshly cut grass. Green, with yellow in between. Spring has finally sprung. Heat through leaves, wind through leaves. The sound of Spring. Porch with people rocking in chairs. One said Hi and Peace be Upon Me. Lovely day, lovely weather. Didn't notice it whilst escaping Winter. Not just the colors but also the feel. Of Spring rushing through my fingers. Drips of water on watered greens. Splashes of them on a smiling face. How else to explain this wonder. Of changing seasons, ever-changing times.


Sunday, May 2, 2010

Mother's Day 2010

In one week we’ll be celebrating Mother’s Day. I haven’t made a big deal out of the day since I was about fourteen, probably. It was all caused by that crap people kept on telling at me about, “Oh, as Muslims we should not celebrate our mothers for just one day, but it should be a year-long event!” Well, I know that, but does it make me a sinner to love my momma extra special for another day besides on her birthday? Celebrating Mother's Day has never been about guilt of loving her less for the rest of the year, but I was young so I fell for that, and stopped buying my mum presents on this day after years of dragging my brother to our neighborhood Giant to buy something as simple as a mirror, or a make-up box (this was when my allowance was RM1 a day). But then I stopped.

But for this coming weekend, in honor of my mother, I’ve decided to give her something extra special. I’ve now come to a place where I can say I know myself and my momma better. I know now, without doubt, that I’m an ‘arguer’. Well, actually, my parents already knew that about me way before I joined the school’s debate team. I got that from my daddy. But my mum, my ibu, she’s not like us. She’s the opposite. She’s the sweetest human being who loves her kids so much that she’d lie to us so as to not hurt our feelings. Better yet, sometimes she doesn’t need to lie because somehow - magically - she knows exactly what to say to make things all better again. Since she’s such a loving person, she would always tell me, “Let others talk, they will never know the real you.” My mum would never waste her time arguing with others, even if they’re wrong. But me, I would.

I’ve heard a lot of people say, “Today’s working mothers are not real mothers! Real mothers stay at home to cook and clean for their kids!” It’s kind of like a stigma for women to work, even though what these people don’t realize is, MOST women - wives and mothers - do work these days, and I’ve seen equally, if not more beautiful children coming from these families. My mum works…so what? These people who say mothers should not work because extra money is not that important, they are actually lying to themselves. Money is one of the main reasons families tear apart. Having extra is never wrong. Besides that, I believe that working women are more in touch with themselves thus in return, they are better at giving without feeling empty inside. This further leads to sincerity and maturity from the mums and also the kids.

My mum works, so does that mean she loves me and my brother less? No. Does that mean she doesn’t teach us valuable life lessons? No. As much as I would like to maintain a strong case, I won’t lie and say I haven’t wished more than once for them to have more time to spend with us. But like my mum always says, “It’s not the number of kids that counts, it is their quality.” Hence I’m going to repeat what she’s taught me and say, “It’s not the number of hours that count, it’s how those hours were spent.” And the hours that we did spend together, they were definitely priceless, making it bittersweet knowing life will never be the same now with new additions into our family.

When we were younger, and our parents were stronger, they would take us cycling, swimming, and playing badminton, after or before a round of arcade-game playing. My mum and dad taught me how to live healthily (even if now I’m the reason they have to stash their junk food away from sight). As a matter of fact, them taking us cycling when I was six, with me having to cross what-had-seemed-back-then as heavy traffic, was where I got my sense of 'trust' in the world. If I were afraid to even cross the road, how will I ever be able to do anything? After days of work and school, my parents try their best to spend the weekends with us, usually shopping. This was of course when I used to say to my mum, “I’ll never understand why you need to have these much clothes and shoes!” But it was because of those hours rummaging through clothes that I learned from her how to manage my money. She was the one who taught me cash is always better, even when my friends would raise an eyebrow when I refused to use the credit card I had since I was seventeen. My mum was also the one who taught me how to cook our famous chocolate cake, and nobody can argue that those hours spent baking was not real quality bonding time between mother and daughter. Most importantly, she was the one who taught me the value of education, both secular and spiritual. When I was eight, she dragged me to an MPH and told me to ‘choose a book, any book, as long as it’s in English'. Man, if it wasn’t for her, who knows where I’ll be now? My mother taught me how to pray, how to be a good girl, and how to live life right. She’s always gentle, always friendly to others, and she's always smiling. It doesn’t surprise me to see how much others adore her, not because she’s their friend or sister, but because of who she is inside.

It’d be a great blessing to grow up and be a tenth of who she is now. I love you ibu, I do.