A Small Library; My Never Ending Passion!

“Dr. A.M is simply amazing. He was the best registrar. The smartest, the kindest towards intern. I have always known that he would pass his exam easily.”

“Really? Is he really that good?” I was a skeptic through and through.

“Yes. He never refuses to help new interns. Even when it is outside his working hours, he would volunteer to see patients with you. He would take time to teach the interns. He is always willing to meet patients, admit patients, do the paper work…even do the works of an intern, even though he is already and advanced trainee now! Regardless of the hours.”

I was impressed.

I was impressed that an advanced trainee would do the work of an intern, never speak down towards an intern…all for the sake of helping an intern to be as good and as passionate as he it. It spoke volume of his genuine caring attitude towards patients.

It spoke volume of a never-ending passion.

****

If there was a job as a book-reader,I would be like that Dr. A.M.

As a book-reader intern who works at a place called BookLaboratory, I would try to meet as much books as possible, every single chance I get when I am not praying, sleeping, eating or showering. I would do the paper works for the books…write the synopses, catalog them, wrap them up,  and arrange them in the shelves.

As a book-reader registrar, I would be the one who says to my intern “Oh there’s a new book coming and you are having trouble reading it? Don’t worry about it. I will read them for you. I will summarize the book for you, so that you would be able to do a good paper work and  synopsis for the book. And at any time if you are having more trouble, come to me. I will help you.”

As a book-reader consultant with the power to make executive decisions, I would be giving instructions to my registrars and my interns, “These rare books of first editions deserve a leather cover.” or “I have come up with a new cataloging system and this is how I want these books cataloged” or “This book needs to be arranged in a systematic order.” or “We need to spend the government-allocated money on new state-of-the-art book shelves; we will spend AUD5000 for built-in shelves, preferable the floor-to-ceiling oak ones. We should also invest on a more modern three drawer bookcase for weekly or monthly magazines. For really precious and expensive books, we should store them in a locked but transparent glass casings. Cheaper books can be lent to guest and customers for a small fee or sold as second hands….the profits will go to Aman Palestine.”

It would be a never ending passion for me too.

****

“Ayah, banyak sangat buku2 angah nak bawa balik ni. Angah kena tinggal separuh ke?” Dalam hati, memang berat sangat rasanya! I was really hoping that my dad would take the hint.

My dad said, “It’s okay. Nanti kita beli la book shelf baru.”

That’s what I wanted to hear! Syoknya!

Nasib baik, ayah tak suruh aku tinggalkan jer kat Australia. I still remember how my dad forced me to take out all four of  my Dan Brown novels from my luggage when I first went to Australia 5 years ago. Fair enough, there was not enough space, as it was….and even without the books, my luggage was the heaviest among us all.I knew the rationale behind my dad’s insistence that I should leave my books behind at home….especially since he knew that I would be buying a few more books at Kedai Buku Syidah at the KLIA, which I did.

So, I was dreading what my dad would say when I told him I have soooo many books, I could not possibly imagine where in the house would I be putting them all. Alhamdulillah, ayah dah bagi green light beli shelf baru….I have to think where am I going to place this shelf.

Currently, we have one book shelf bawah tangga…tapi tu dah penuh. And bercampur dengan buku ayah, buku mak, buku-buku cerita kitorang dari zaman kanak-kanak dulu sampai sekarang. Tak best la aku nak menyelit-nyelit my brand new books celah-celah buku-buku usang tu! No way!

We have another shelf downstairs…tapi tu penuh dengan barang2 hiasan and pinggan mangkuk my mom. Takkan aku nak cakap “Mak, since mak tak pakai pun pinggan mangkuk ni, apa kata mak letak ja dalam kotak. Bagi space kat buku2 angah.” Penyesaran gila!

At our study area upstairs, there is another massive book shelf that all 5 of us have shared ever since our schooling and college days..but my own space pun dah penuh.

So, I definitely need one more book shelf….and this one is to be mine alone…I am not sharing that space with anyone else….not because I am stingy….but because there will never be enough! My medic books alone dah banyak….my novels berkali-kali ganda banyak. And I will always be buying more and more in the future. I do need my own big book shelf…no sharing of the space with my siblings! It would not fit!

My sisters would probably say, “Tak aci! Apsal hang sorang ja dapat book shelf…tak nak share plak tu.”

Well, I suppose I will have to use my own money. So that I can justify my exclusive claim on that new book shelf.

****

I have always wanted my own library…ever since I was a kid.

It would be my sanctuary…the cave in which I recuperate. I have been browsing through some home library designs on the internet…and I found myself falling in love again and again.

I know that I am not likely to be rich enough to own a big mansion with a massive spare room to set up my own library. However, I don’t need to have a room to have a library…I would be satisfied if I could have just a particular space in my house dedicated for books and study. And I think it is absolutely important for my kids to have their own study area where they study together.

That was how I was raised.

When there were only me and my Kak Long at school while our younger sisters were still little kids who slept with our parents, we had enough rooms in the house to have a study room…that was where the only desktop in the house was placed, where my dad would sometimes do his work…and Kak Long and I also did our homework there (although there are times when we cheated and wrote stories instead). We studied together…we didn’t study separately,or locked ourselves up in our respective rooms.

And years later, when our little sisters had started school, we all studied together at the study area upstairs, since there was no longer enough rooms to set up a study room. The study area was basically just like a  space upstairs, where all of us would pass to get to our separate rooms. Until now, the study area is still there…we share the big table there , we still share the desktop there, we share the massive bookshelves there, we used to share the telephone there during the years when mobile phones were unheard of. Over the years, my mom has added some two-seater couch or sofa to the study area after she had bought a new set for the living room downstairs. It’s a very cozy area where we could study and relax. (yes, study and relax can exist in one sentence when you have the right environment). Until now, that study area remains one of my favourite space in the house…I miss it more than I miss my room. Because that’s where I hang out with my siblings the most. My bedroom which I shared with my little sister, was just somewhere to sleep and to get dressed; nothing more and nothing less.

My mother and father did not allow us to study in front of the TV. The living room is strictly for relaxing; my mother did not like seeing books and messy school-children stuff in her living room. Rimas dan lemas perut tengok semak-semak ni, katanya. LOL! Living room is supposed to be neat and presentable because that’s the very first area you would see when you walk into the house.

And I also think that my parents were too suspicious of what we would be doing if they allowed us to study in our own room. Knowing me, I would be reading non-academic books all the time and they would have no idea whether or not I actually did study if I lock myself up in my room. So, we were all expected to study at the study area. Which was good because we can help our younger sisters with homework. We became close as siblings because we didn’t each lock ourselves up away from our family members after dinner.

So for all these reasons, I prefer having a study area in my future home. This study area would also be where my bookshelves would be stored with my favourite selected books from outstanding and famous authors.  I don’t want my kids to lock themselves up inside their rooms… sampaikan aku pulak nak kena minta kebenaran kalau nak masuk! I don’t want them to think they can have their own private zone away from their parents and siblings! I don’t want to be clueless of what they are doing inside their rooms…what kind of websites are they visiting with their own personal laptops! They have to learn to share the desktop in the study area until they are old enough (probably at uni) to require their own laptops! They have to learn to live with the landline telephone as the main means of communication with their friends and they have to abide by the rules of not speaking over the phone for more than absolutely necessary. After all, they have to share the landline telephone with their siblings too. I want to know that they are not locking themselves inside the room talking on their mobile phone with a person of the opposite gender, chatting something of absolute nonsense.

That’s how it’s going to be. My house, my rules…no spoiling the kids!

So I really do think that a study area, or if I could afford it, a real library in a massive room is a very good idea. I think that every house should have one. It’s a very positive step towards encouraging the kids’ reading habits and minimize their bad behaviour during their teenage years. But of course, the main reason I want a library is because I simply love the idea that I will have a space to store all the books I am planning to buy and accumulate.

I will leave you my dear readers with some of the breathtaking pictures of home library designs that I have come across. They are heavenly, don’t you think?

Ini memang angan2 jerlah...unless aku kahwin dgn anak raja!
I can't stop dreaming of having this kind of library...floor-to-ceiling shelves. Leather bound books all over the place. What more could a bibliophile ask for?

This is nice too. The empty space in the middle can have an oriental carpet; a big study table can be placed there. Or it can also be an area where the family members can pray together. It has a great potential into becoming a family room of some sort. Ah...what a delightful dream this is!

Okay...I will stop dreaming of a big library in a massive room. I will be more than happy with something like this; just one section of the living room could be made into a study area; the study area is separated from the living room by the floor-to-ceiling book shelves, giving the readers a bit of privacy from the public area of the living room.
If I can't have one area of the living room being turned into a library; then just give me a library wall...I will still be happy. It doesn't take that much space at all...you can make the whole wall along the hallway as your library. However, there's the disadvantage of not having a particular study area. *sigh*
This is too small...but what I am getting at is, you can make the empty space beneath the stairs as a library area. You have to put some lights around the area though. I am still quite happy with this. But the bookshelves have got to expand over the years!

Pernah dengar istilah sekolah dalam taman?

If my future home is too small for any sort of library like the above pictures, I will just have to design the concept of rumah di dalam library. Basically, the whole wall of my house will have some sort of shelves with books in them. Maybe the shelves in the living area can be for books on interior design. The shelves around the dining table can be for books on food and drinks or some health related books. The shelves beneath the stairs can be for my novels. The shelves upstairs can take up the whole four walls…and they can have all my serious medical books.

Oh, what a dream this is. Don’t wake me up. I am having too much fun, dreaming and conjuring up the pictures of my future home library.

Yes, I am hopeless…

Only God can help any man and woman who suffers from the attack of a never-ending passion.

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Happily Melancholic!

I pride myself at being a very resilient sort of person. Alhamdulillah….and I pray I will always be this way.

I have always known that I bounce back fast and easy. When I am annoyed, I don’t stay annoyed long. When I am sad, I don’t stay sad long. My anger doesn’t last beyond the time for the next prayer. When I am anxious, I took steps to fight them. And for all those times when I am annoyed, sad, angry or anxious, you can always bribe me with novels and coffee.

You see, my constant background mood is that of contentment and happiness. That’s why I always find myself much happier being around a happy person. Being melancholic and wallowing in self-pity are not my style.Really. Even though I whine a lot, I know that the only reason I do that is because I am an attention-seeking middle child (ok, pecah rahsia) and my parents don’t really mind anyway. They know that I am the sort of person who TALK myself out of misery.

I can not possibly be disappointed for a long time when I can’t get what I want. Because I have this incredible ability to change my desire anytime I please. If I can’t get what I want, then I will simply make myself stop wanting it. That way, it would not matter anymore. If I can’t do something I wanted to do, then I would reason with myself why I should not be doing it anyway.

To me, that kind of attitude is the best attitude when dealing with heart desires. No person and no object and no other worldly things would have power over you when you have the ability to adjust your desire of worldly things, and just shrug and said, “Oh, I don’t really need all those things to be happy, anyway.”

I used to think that you can either be happy or be melancholic. Never both.

****

I have a good friend. She has (maybe ‘had’ now) a fiance. They have problems now.

I wanted to tell her, “Why cry? Can’t you make yourself not like him? It can’t be that hard. You see, you love him too much. So he has power over you. That’s why you are hurting. Can’t you see? The reason he is not hurting is because he is the one who can say ‘I can live without you and my happiness doesn’t depend on you’. You should be that way too. You are the one who define what makes you happy and you should be able to change it anytime you please. You decide!”

But I bite my tongue. Who am I to say these things, when I don’t even know what she is feeling. But I am making sense, right?

Or no?

****

At the moment, my heart desires to be home with my family for Eid.

I could not get what I want, of course. I am in Australia and my family members are all over the place.

So, how do I cope with all that? I can’t possibly say “Ah, I don’t need to be with them for Eid in order to be happy. “

That sounds heartless, isn’t it? Sounds so cold and uncaring. And it would not be true….well, yes I don’t need them to be really happy for Eid, because Eid always makes me happy, anyway. But I know that having them with me would make me even happier.

So, I guess, the best way to describe my feelings at the moment is : I am happily melancholic; I am happy celebrating Eid; but I am melancholic because I am not with my family. So, I am happily melancholic.

And I think that if you want to be melancholic about anything, the best of way of being melancholic is to be happily melancholic.

Being happily melancholic is an art. It is when you know that you can be HAPPIER when you have something, but not having it would not make you sad…just LESS HAPPY. But STILL HAPPY.

Do you know what I mean?

I think, that’s how everyone should be. They should be happy and content with whatever fate God has decreed for them, even though they know they could be happier if they have this and have that or do this and do that.

Next time I saw my friend, I should probably give her the Eid&Family analogy.

I will tell her, “You don’t need to be happier. You only need to be happy. Would losing your fiance destroy your happiness…or just your happier-ness? I am sure, before you met him, you were happy. After meeting him, you were happier. So losing him now should only change your happiness status from ‘happier’ to ‘happy’. Right?”

I guess, what I am getting at is, after attaining God’s pleasure, NOTHING and NO ONE in this world should affect your happiness too much.

Don’t seek to be happier…when would it end? Just be happy.

But sometimes, life can be hard, I know. And during those times, melancholy would strike, I am sure. Being happy in those times would be hard, of course.

If you can’t be happy….then try being happily melancholic by telling yourself:

“I don’t need to be happier in order to be happy.”

My Latest Obsession!

Okay, I have said this before. But I will say it again.

I like him. When I listen to him, I feel that my soul is in harmony with what he is saying because it makes sense! I like things that make sense; that I can reason out. I like structure. I like explanation.

I hate instructions, direction and expectations. But when you give me all those things along with a good explanation, I can accept it. Because it makes me feel like I am not doing it because you ordered me to! Who are you? I am doing it because what you ordered me to do makes sense to me.

At the moment, the hottest topic in our household is that of mazhab. You know, with an arab housemate living with us, it’s just such an interesting topic and has become my latest obsession. Last week, I was obsessed with Palestine because I was asked to present that topic. I thought about it non-stop and talked about it with Yana non-stop. This week, it’s mazhab. I am still thinking about what I should be interested in next week.

Dr. MAZA is brilliant. I mean, really. If all Sekolah Agama teach religion like this, everyone will be drawn to it and will not run from it to go to MRSM instead, lol.

Have you ever wondered how mazhab came about?

Have you ever questioned the saying of those ustaz when they said, “Siapa yang ikut mazhab Syafie’ maka dia tak boleh suka-suka hati nak ikut pendapat mazhab lain dalam sesetengah perkara sahaja. Contohnya, nak sembahyang cara Maliki, kena tau juga cara nak ambil wuduk macam Mazhab Maliki. ”

Have you ever asked back, “Macam mana ambil wuduk cara Mazhab Maliki ni? Cuba cerita sikit!”

I would love to hear the answer!And how do you come up with the statement “If you want to pray Maliki style, you have to perform wudhu Maliki style as well.” Did Imam Maliki say this?

All the 4 grand Imams said “Jangan kamu ikut kepada ku dengan kamu tidak tahu, tapi lihatlah alasan ku.” Which means, we should be allowed to make comparisons between all of them with regards to their reasoning.

Do you know what makes a good presentation or a good debate?

-The audience may not realize it themselves but when they hear a good debate or a good presentation, they know it. They may not be able to point out exactly what makes it so good, but they knew it’s good.

-It’s like writing stories as well. What makes a good story is exactly what makes a good presentation and a good debate.

-The secret is in being thorough in your reasoning! You have got to make the picture complete. Whatever issues you have raised, you have to answer them. You have got to tie ALL the knots! Don’t leave any questions unanswered. Once you have opened one aspect of the presentation, answer everything about it!

For example, if you say “In order for you to change the mazhab, then you have to know everything about the mazhab first.” then you should explain it. Once you have said this, there are sooo many questions that came into the audience mind and you have to anticipate these questions and answer them accordingly.

They will ask you things like:

-Why did you say that? Did the Imam Malik himself said this??? Can you come up with that particular statement where he said, “Those who follow my opinion, you should not learn and follow another mazhab’s opinion, ”

-Tell me, what is so different in the way Imam Malik practice religion as opposed to Imam Syafie (or any other imams) that you make it sound as though we have to learn religion all over again if we want to use his opinion instead of Imam Syafie in certain aspects.

-What is different in the time of the Sahabah as opposed to now? They don’t have mazhab then. So, they would follow opinions…and some sahabah had different opinion than other Sahabah. Don’t they just follow whichever that is easiest for that particular situation? How do they decide among each other?

I wish someone can be thorough in their explanation. We don’t need knowledgeable people merely giving us instructions. That’s not a good teacher and the students would not become good students when they have to swallow every questions that they have in their minds.

In the world of intellectual pursuit, we have to be exposed to multiple point of views. Only by teaching religion this way can we entice more intellectual people who take up position of importance in the society, to pay more attention to religious matters. Otherwise, you are making them run away in the other direction. Some of them may be able to find their way back into the fold of Islam, but deep inside they will blame you: why was I not told about this before? Why was I only exposed to one strict opinion before? They don’t blame the strict opinion itself, but they blame the unfortunate circumstances that had caused them to know only one thing and nothing else. They blame you for all the guilty feelings that they have felt all these years when they thought “Oh, it’s too hard!”

It’s time to revolutionize our education system. We are in such dire need for change, don’t you agree? To quote Julia Gillard, it’s time to move forward!