Hello folks, here I am again. Tenggelam timbul, bak kata orang Melayu (the English equivalent is 'now you see it, now you don't').
Before you know it, we are already halfway through January. Time rushes by so fast it's frightening. In the blink of an eye, tomorrow is yesterday, and we are all a day closer to the grave.
[Whatever the case, at least the world didn't end on December 21 2012. Put the fear of God into you those Mayans, didn't they? That they ran out of stone slabs was true after all, eh...]
At the home front, a brand new cucu made his grand entrance on December 18. Being the first grandchild for both sides of the family, Hasan's arrival is a welcome diversion from our admittedly boring, mundane daily routine.
Hasan in blissful slumber after 'cukur jambul'
Come February, with the grace of Allah swt, a new son-in-law comes aboard, thus increasing the family's journalistic quota from three to four. Izhar's subbing for a newspaper while bride-to-be Ann is with a news portal. May they find mutual bliss in journalism, a vocation much maligned these days.
Insofar as Kata Kama is concerned, I don't know if I can ever live up to the promise of non-procrastination. That I'm getting lazier is the truth. Besides, the mind too is getting foggier with age and it is beginning to show.
Workwise, there's Muslim Aid Malaysia Humanitarian Foundation to contend with. If the current schedule is anything to go by, we are in for multiple projects that could help bring some degree of relief to the needy.
Our WASH (water, sanitation and health) project is on-going; the one in Pulau Mabul off Samporna, Sabah is cruising along nicely and the focus is now on a couple of other adjacent islands, as well as the Orang Asli communities in Peninsular Malaysia.
The tanks are up in Mabul..
Besides our regular work with the refugee kids from the Myanmar-Muslim, Rohingya and Somali communities, there's a host of new issues concerning children to look into in Mabul and nearby islands.
Breaking fast with Rohingya kids in Meru, Klang
In Mabul, schooling is denied to many children due to lack of proper documentation. Concerned, a local diving resort operator has taken it unto himself to educate the kids by setting up a makeshift learning centre named 'School of Hope'.
Lunchtime for the Myanmar- Muslim refugee kids in Selayang
The Foundation chipped in with whatever's needed to ensure the 'Hope' kids are at least literate. Reading, writing and crafts are taught. Teachers are mainly volunteers, local and international.
Just as things are moving according to plan, the centre comes under official scrutiny from the state department. Their main gripe? "School of Hope' is not officially registered as a school but carries the 'school' legend.
Performance by School of Hope kids
Whatever the case, it's 'no can do' to just sitting back and watching these kids while away their time doing nothing, and growing up illiterate. It's either education or a lifetime of servitude, petty crime, or hardship.
Last year concluded with two mercy missions, the first to Yangon and Sittwe in Myanmar and the second to Palestine, both bringing much needed food, clothing and medication to the people under oppression there.
This year, come March one of our boys will be trekking up the foothills of the Himalayas, to Annapurna to be exact. The mission is to create awareness and raise funds for our "Palestinian Appeal". project. More on this later when all the details are finalised.
In the same vein, a calligraphic art exhibition called 'At-Tayyibah' is currently on at the New Straits Times Gallery in Balai Berita (Jalan Riong, Bangsar). It began on January 2 and concludes on January 25.
Digital Calligraphy solo art exhibition
The exhibition showcases 34 pieces of stunning digital calligraphic artwork by noted khat master, Ismail Md Zain, a friend of the Foundation. Part of the proceeds from the sale of the paintings will be channelled to our 'Palestinian Appeal' fund as well.
It is heartening to note his work has been getting good response from the public. Quite a few pieces have been sold. Do drop by NST Gallery at Balai Berita for a peek. You'll be surprised at the beauty and clarity of each artwork..