Are We Truly Free?

In a few days time, Malaysians will be celebrating our 63rd year of independence. In our own language, being independent is translated to ‘merdeka’.

People have equated independence with freedom so readily that they didn’t realize that there’s a difference (small, but significant difference) between being independent and being free. I prefer to be free because I believe that none of us can truly be independent when we live in the society! All of us are always dependent on one another for our daily living. We need help, cooperation, good-will of others and simple kindness in our day-to-day working life with our colleagues. And in our family life, we need security, love and affection from the members of our family.

So, I would argue that we are not independent in the true sense of the word. In fact, we are dependent. But! We are free to choose who to depend on! See? That’s the difference.

When we were under the rule of the British, we cannot choose who to trade with, who to be friendly with, who to recognize and who to derecognize. But as a free country, we can choose to do trade with China (even if Trump hates it), send our students to Russia, to not recognize Israel, to be sympathetic to the plight of the Palestinians etc etc. We are free to CHOOSE who to associate with and who to have an inter-dependent relationship with!

So next time, if people ask you whether you prefer to be independent or to be free, you can just say “I prefer to be free because we can never truly be independent.” Hahah. Not that I think anyone would ask you such a question unless it is me you are talking to.  (I am displaying the worst trait of an INTJ/INTP personality here… overthinking, overanalyzing, philosophizing simple terms that other people don’t really give a damn. I have a tendency to bore people with my nitpicking, hairsplitting, pedantic ways haha. Analyzing stuff like this is a secret hobby of mine (but if you read my blog, this trait of mine is not that secretive because I display it so excessively here LOL). But I don’t usually show this trait when I am outside with the real society. I might remain silent in a meeting or act reserved in a party full with strangers but inside my head…heck, it is noisy, I tell you! The noises of me and several versions of me arguing with myself in my head about certain facts and dilemmas of life – like whether the correct term to prefer should be independence or freedom- is relentlessly unceasing. hahah)

Because I love being free so much, I make all important decisions based on protecting my freedom. If I feel like an organization, a person, an authority figure, a system (including educational system) etc etc have the potential of limiting my freedom in ways that I could possibly not able to tolerate, I will refrain from being involved with them.

Until now, I can never understand how come the ex-Orthopaedic HOD in Sungai Buloh could get away with sexual misconduct against HOs when his behavior was such an open secret within the hospital. Kononnya dia “powerful” and all master students need to kowtow to him. All specialists indebted to him. So to all these specialists and master students… how FREE are they in choosing their course of action? They could have chosen to say “I will report against you anyway even if I might lose my position because I care more about being a decent human being than being a specialist”. Kan? So, why were you not free to do so? I feel so angry whenever I talk about this.

So my point is, we must live in a way that we will not be dependent 100% on our job or on an educational system that will oppress us if we speak up against anyone. Unfortunately, Orthopaedic training (and all surgical-based training) in Malaysia does not recognize external pathway in their training. Lucky for me, MRCPsych is recognized. Otherwise, I being addicted to freedom, might never become a psychiatrist because I will never put myself in a situation of being unable to speak up or choose my own action for fear of unmanageable consequences. The benefits must always outweigh the risks! And no benefits can outweigh the loss of freedom, in my opinion. So choose your action thoughtfully, my dear readers. Never ever lose your freedom. In the end, you will find that sacrificing your freedom is not worth it.

And this! is my Merdeka message to my readers. Happy Freedom Day, guys!

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The More Skills You Have, The Less Opportunity You Have To Use It

Life is paradoxical. The more skills you have, the less opportunity you have to use the skills that you have.

Let me elaborate with some examples.

The person who is bullied at school would wish that he had a skill in martial arts to protect himself. But when he had already acquired the much needed martial arts skills, he would find that he could rarely use the fighting skills that he had painstakingly acquired because people just don’t bully him anymore. (Because bullies by nature will only bully people who are weaker than them).

The same thing goes to the ability to speak up for yourself. When you don’t have any willingness or any ability to speak up for yourself (or for your friends, or for your organization or for your department), you will find yourself in various situations in which you could really make use of the oratory skills that you sorely need but do not yet have. Because you are such an easy prey for people to pick a fight with, to be placed as a scapegoat of! That is why you will repetitively encounter such painful situations over and over again. Until you learn to do things differently, God will place you in that situation. But once you have acquired the willingness and the ability to defend yourself, the time will come when suddenly you are no longer in a position to use those skills anymore because people simply stop picking a fight with you. (Then  you can move on to perfecting other skills that you don’t yet have but always find yourself needing it. We will never run out of skills to improve on. Accept the fact that we must always continuously learn, and unlearn, and relearn certain things until the day we die. Tests of life will never stop until you breathe your last air, folks.)

The same thing happens with specialist training. You spend roughly four years perfecting the art of diagnosing and managing illnesses so that you can use them to help your patients. But once you have acquired those skills, suddenly you spend the bulk of your time going to management meetings rather than seeing patients (so now you have to learn the skill of patience and diplomacy while having a meeting with people who do not see eye-to-eye with you in various issues. Oh my God! Hahha) You see more patients as an MO or as a registrar than as a specialist. Which to me is SO paradoxical. Don’t you become a specialist so that you can help more patients with your now specialized skills? Again, the more skills you have, the less opportunity you have to use it.

For me personally, I was placed in a lot of social situations in which I had no small talk skills whatsoever and had wished that I had it. But well, I have been practicing too. So, insya Allah….one day when I can make small talk look effortless, maybe I won’t need it as much (Or I may no longer notice the need for it because the skill has become second nature to me). Nowadays, small talk is more tolerable. (But until now I still avoid bumping into my neighbours. LOL)

You see, the onus is on YOU, to have the willingness to acquire skills that you need in order to grow, but later on, you will find that you hardly need to use it anymore.

But don’t be selfish.

If you can’t use it for yourself due to lack of opportunity, try to use it for others who are oppressed. Try to use it for causes that need your contribution. Otherwise, your skills will be wasted.

Until now, I choose who I admire and respect based on the person’s ability to be free to choose to do the right thing. Be free to choose to do the right thing! And if it means having to acquire martial arts skills or debating skills, do it! Don’t be too dependent on the good opinion of others or on the wealth/position that you could possibly lost if you don’t kowtow to people. You can die tomorrow and your kowtowing to people for the sake of wealth and position will all be for nothing. I lost a friend at the age of 18… there is no guarantee we will live till 80. Some people are diagnosed of terminal illness just a few years after acquiring their master degree to become a specialist. So spend your life acquiring the skills that you need in order to be free to make the right choice.

Because we have an afterlife to think about too.

***

Oh My English

I personally (I might be wrong) think that the Malays are such an easy prey of being picked on and jeered at for their lack of English skills. And this is usually done by extremist conceited Chinese (read properly: I said extremist Chinese; not other kind-hearted, respectful Chinese) who think that Malays in general are poor English speakers.

This month, the issue involved a Starbucks’ Chinese customer posting a Facebook status of how a Malay barista in Starbucks could not communicate in English with an expatriate friend of his from China.

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But the funny thing is, even his English in his Facebook post was grammatically wrong. He displayed poor written English while commenting on a Malay’s allegedly poor spoken English. How hilarious! I had no choice but to create my own Facebook status to correct his English and to put him back in his place.

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You see in general, I NEVER use my English skill to downgrade other people’s lack of command in English. To me, using your skill to look down on others who don’t have the same skill that you have is dishonoring the gift that Allah has given you. I never correct people’s grammar in public in order to embarrass them. I just let it go and correct it inside my head (because of my OCPD traits hahah). Unless the person specifically ask me for my help, I will not correct other people’s English for the sake of embarrassing them. 

The purpose of you having the skill that you have is NOT for you to display your conceited self-importance to others. It is for you to help yourself and to help others with the skill that you have. It is for your own good that you have that skill even if paradoxically, you might not need it anymore after having those skills. But others will need it from you and therefore you should use it to help others. Easy pahala for you now, isn’t it? Was it Muhammad Ali who had said “service to others is the rent that you pay for your room on earth”.

service to others

We shouldn’t use our skills in order to brag about it to others and belittle their self-worth! It is such a stupid and INEFFICIENT way of doing things! Why would you want to inefficiently spend your time picking a fight with others just for the sake of lifting your ego! “Oh look at me! I am so good in English! Look at that Malay…. Such a poor command in English.”

Just for some temporary moments of bragging rights, you picked a fight with people (out of nowhere!) and risked losing your livelihood when the company who hired you might fire your butt for making racist remarks.

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Seriously! How inefficient you are to have risked your livelihood for a few moments of grandiose bragging and the satisfaction of being able to belittle others! (Not only is it inefficient, but also disgraceful, unkind and malicious. But people who are disgraceful, unkind and malicious won’t understand kindness, grace and benevolence….so as an INTJ who is in love with efficiency, I highlighted on the efficiency aspect of things, instead. Hopefully, it will register in their heads. But hmm… maybe they don’t even understand the concept of efficiency to be behaving in that way in the first place. Because a really efficient person will only pick a fight when they have to and only on things that matter. And for the record, displaying your vanity and conceit about your English skill is not one of the things that matter, ok?).

So again, I hated having to criticize other people’s English. But I have mentioned before that we acquire skills for just such a situation as this! To fight bullies! So if you criticize a Malay’s English skills, I have no choice but to point out that your own English is deficient!

This might be an over-generalization but in my opinion, the Indians are much better in English than the Chinese in terms of proper sentence construction and good grammar. (This is generally speaking, ya! At an individual level, I am sure any  person of any race can be good in English if they study hard enough) Yet it is always the extremist Chinese who like to criticize the Malays’ English.

I rarely heard Indians saying things like “Eh… you photostat this at where arrr?”, “You wanna eat where arr?”

Instead they would say “Where did you photocopy this document? Where do you want to eat?” Proper English sentence construction!

Just because you “direct translate” all words into English without minding your grammar, doesn’t mean your English is good! Most Malays are shy about speaking in English because they have no confidence in their skill to construct good grammatical sentences. But heck, we know good English when we hear one. And we also know bad English when we hear one! Jadi berhentilah perasan bahawa hangpa punya English paling baguih kat Malaysia ni! Annoying, okay!

The thing is, being good in English has nothing to do with race. But it has everything to do with the privileges of having been educated in a city, and having a family who doesn’t need you to help with rubber tapping/paddy planting/ doing housechores… so that you as a student can have the luxury of focusing on your studies and going to tuition classes! In other words, any person of any race living in a city is much better in English than any person of any race living in kampong or rural area. And the statistical fact of the matter is, there are many more Malays in kampung than in the cities! Some of the Malays who live in the cities are fresh out of rural areas, trying to make a better life for themselves. And they should be commended for it! They took the step to better the life of their families, just like my father had done when he decided to study hard so that he didn’t have to do rubber tapping anymore like my grandfather did. My father spent his school holidays helping my grandfather with rubber tapping and yet he was the best student for SPM in Sekolah Menengah Khir Johari. It was because of his determination to get out of the rural Baling that I am now a city-dwelling Malay girl (not that Alor Setar is a city hahha! Really laughable to think that Alor Setar is a city!) who have more opportunities in life than I would have had if he did not work hard enough to escape from poverty. I have never forgotten my roots. I have more privileges now compared to my father when he was growing up but I don’t use them to lord it over others unless you violate my sense of justice and good conduct, FIRST! Then, I WILL fight you. 

So if you feel like the Malays are not good in English, please analyze the issues fairly and think about the internal biases that you have! How many generations of your family have been in the city, hmm? How many generations of your family have been ‘direct translating’ English (and you call it good English? Gosh!) while living in a city. And then you go around displaying your arrogant conceit, feeling like your English is so good just because you have the family background that had allowed you to be that good? Please… monitor yourself and your own English which is not as good as you think!

And here’s a tip: If you can’t speak good English, please speak good Malay, at least! We are Malaysians and it is shameful to be neither good in English nor good in Malay. These are the two common languages for all Malaysians, after all. If your friend from China cannot speak in Malay to the Malay barista, why couldn’t you have ordered his coffee for him in Malay, instead?  

But no! To you, Bahasa Melayu is a low standard language, isn’t it? To you, learning to speak proper (or even improper) Malay is not that important because if push comes to shove, you can always vandalize street signboards with Chinese letters that other races don’t understand. Right?

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Such rudeness and audacity will never be forgotten in GE15! Thank you for the GE15 campaign material. Rest assured, we will use it most ardently.

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So don’t blame people when they are suspicious of DAP. You will NEVER rule the country unless you learn to respect the constitution and the religion and the culture of the majority. This is simple common sense.

So my take home message is: Don’t pick a fight for something senseless (like for bragging rights and showing off) because it MAY backfire on you. Pick a fight for  things that matter because even if it backfires on you, at least you will have suffered for something worthy.

In general, when it comes to changing people’s minds, I don’t believe it is beneficial to debate with them. Studies have shown that debating with others won’t change people’s minds most of the time. If our aim is to change people’s minds, the moment we engage them in a debate, we will lose even if we win the debate. We will not reach our aim of changing their minds. (Appealing to people’s psychology with your own kindness, and soft-spoken manners work better actually. Some women actually use seduction and it works better than facts-laden arguments… just ask wives of bull-headed husbands all over the world. Hahah. Associations and symbolisms work better rather than debates if you want to manipulate and change someone’s mind. Symbolize LGBT with love, freedom and empowerment rather than promiscuity, unsafe sex with multiple partners and hedonism. Symbolize religion with oppression rather than submission to Almighty God. Associate the wearing of hijab with oppression of women instead of expression of modesty. And symbolize naked women with women emancipation rather than a degrading need for attention of men. See? People can hijack your reasoning so easily now after the field of psychology became popular in the early 1900s). How many times have you debated back and forth with others only for all parties to stick to their original stance anyway? Because debate involves EGO! Once you debate with others, know that you will not change their minds unless they REALLY, SINCERELY want to find out the truth. Most of the time, people would NOT want to admit they were wrong even if you had bombarded them with facts after facts, after facts, after facts. So debate is the LAST resort that we should do. And we only do it to show to arrogant people that we can. Yes… if we have to engage in a debate, we can too. We just don’t do it as a matter of course. But if the situation calls for it, we have the skills to do it and we will use it!

Biar buku bertemu ruas!

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The Brilliant Religious Affair Minister Against The Cry-Baby Liberals

I must admit that I hava a crush on our Menteri Agama’s intelligence. He is the epitome of ‘diam-diam ubi berisi’. I mean… if it was me who was counter-attacking and counter-replying to others hate comments, people won’t be all that astonished. My friends would say “Afiza is just being herself. Banyak tenaga dia nak balas orang cakap apa.” (This is me when I was younger. Sekarang ni dah mellow sikit. Or perhaps, I just have less energy now Hahah. Or perhaps I already knew that debate doesn’t work, as I have mentioned above.)

But when the Menteri Agama did it…people would feel like “Wow… beneath his usual soft-spoken ways lay hidden his sharp intelligence and his steely will. Jangan main-main.”

I am so glad that Mujahid was out of the picture. Alhamdulillah, so happy that we now have Dr. Zulkifli Mohammad Al-Bakri replacing Mujahid as Minister of Religious Affairs.

A journalist was butt-hurt when Dr. Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri had replied to his misleading twitter about RUU 355. The journalist had accused Dr. Zulkifli of harassing him as a journalist… as though he was specifically targeted. (Typical weak-minded liberal! You have the freedom to criticize others but when you are criticized, suddenly it is harassment! My God! What a cry baby!)

Dr. Zulkifli simply denied that he was targeting the journalist. Dr. Zulkifli simply pointed out that he was being specific regarding whom he meant to criticize beause it wouldn’t be fair to involve other journalists in this matter who did not do anything wrong! See? He is not apologetic like Mujahid was. He is soft spoken as a matter of his default behavior setting. But when he has to be firm, he will do it.

I like that in a person. I really do.

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And many Malaysian retweeted his response, showing support for Dr. Zulkifli.

You see? People think that by being moderate in EVERY way… neither here nor there, neither this nor that… people will love us. That was what Mujahid was. Neither here nor there. Neither this nor that. Playing safe in every way. He was apologetic to everyone! He wanted to please everyone… the liberals, the LGBTs, the extremist in all races be it Malays, Chinese, Indians. So he ended up not pleasing anyone at all because none of us is happy with him.

Just like Maszlee Malik. Oh at first, we decided for students to learn 6 pages of Jawi. And then later, “Okay to compromise, we only learned 3 pages of Jawi now”. PH was perhaps hoping, Chinese and Indians would be happy when they reduced the number of pages …and at the same time Malays would not be so disappointed with the reduced number of pages as Jawi would still be learned. But what happened, instead? Malays were angry as they felt like this was ANOTHER example of how PH was kowtowing to the non-Malays. And the non-malays were STILL not happy even though PH had reduced the number of pages of Jawi learning because they did not want to learn Jawi AT ALL! So everyone was angry with PH now!

First of all… as a leader… ask yourself! What is the RIGHT thing to do? And stick to that! Then, the right people will be happy with you. If you please Allah with your good intention to do the right thing, Allah will take care of who will be pleased with you. You don’t need the pleasure of everyone on earth in order to be happy with yourself. Be realistic! Have a spine if you are going to be a leader! Otherwise, resign!

This goes to every leader in PH or PN or MN! I don’t care anymore who will be the government. I have seen how even PH was not that transparent with government tenders when they were governing. #101Tenders. Cakap besar ja lebih!

Since neither PH nor PN can be trusted with matters of integrity, then I will make a choice based on who is less hostile to Islam… and who is less mocking of Islam…. And who is more upholding of the constitution… and who is more respectful of the religious ways of the Malaysian people (listen, Islam is not the only religion in this country. The western liberalism agenda is a threat to all religious people of all religion in this country. So in certain matters, there SHOULD be an inter-faith cooperation between us).

But at the same time, we should ALWAYS criticize any MP who dishonor their positions with their conduct… like vaping in Parliament (Hishamudin, I am looking at you, sir!) or violating the quarantine laws (Dr. Khairuddin, I am looking at you now).

I was happy when PH won… but later I was upset with a lot of things that happened when they governed.

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I was happy when PN came into power because I had already felt disillusioned with PH by then… but again, I am not happy with a lot of things that are happening now too.

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Since I know that neither PH nor PN are all good or all bad…. we have to continue to criticize any MP of any government who is in power when they do not conduct themselves in a manner befitting their positions, even if we were the one who voted them in! And we will praise anyone from any faction who conduct themselves well. The rakyats will continuously be watching you. The rakyats will have to perform the check & balance now.

Because none of the political parties can be trusted to do that!

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ANFRS & AFBRS

I am excited to announce that I have come up with my own scales to evaluate books.

And you can check out the page Afiza’s Book Rating Scales in this blog if you want to know the details of the parameters in ANFRS (Afiza’s Non Fiction Rating Scales) and AFBRS (Afiza’s Fiction And Biography Rating Scales). Below is the picture showing where in the blog that you can access the details of the rating scales.

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This is a major nerdy move on my part. Hahaha. But you know, I like to justify why I like certain books and dislike certain books. As much as possible, I try to be objective with my evaluation, my thoughts and my feelings. To me, people who are enslaved by their emotion without really knowing why they feel what they feel, would be really vulnerable to manipulation by others. This is also why I like CBT (compared to psychodynamic). CBT is about recognizing that the way you think will affect your emotion, and thus will influence your behavior. It is about challenging automatic negative thoughts and cognitive distortions. It makes you THINK!

And scales give me a more objective way of thinking! I like it! Hahha.

But yeah, this is such an embarrassingly nerdy move. But I think fellow book readers will appreciate it…. I hope.

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Books Of The Month

I have read 5 books this month: 2 fictions, 2 non-fictions and 1 biography.

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I have used Afiza’s Fiction & Biography Rating Scales (AFBRS) to evaluate the fiction and the biography books in the picture above. Whereas for the non-fiction books, I have used Afiza’s Non-Fiction Rating Scales (ANFRS) to evaluate them.

I don’t want to waste your time reviewing 77 Shadow Street and Seize The Night which are both authored by Dean Koontz. Enough to say that each of them only earns 0.75 star out of 5. I was so disappointed by these books that I have decided I am not going to purchase anymore Dean Koontz writings from now on. To be honest, I only picked up these two books because I wanted to get rid of them from my TBR pile. I used to enjoy his books so much many years ago. Maybe, I have matured now that I can no longer enjoy these kind of books as an adult. I don’t know. But yup, I am “breaking up” with Dean Koontz and will no longer spend any more time reading his books. I had “broken up” with David Baldacci many years before because I found that he consistently wrote about Islam (or a Muslim character) in a wilfully misleading and negative way. So I decided that I was done with him too. So I am just saying it is not unusual for me to “break up” with authors I have followed for many years. My “relationships” with Mathhew Reilly, Jeffrey Archer, Michael Connelly, David Lagercrantz and Stieg Larson (though he had already died for many years but there are still a few more of his books I haven’t read yet) are still going as strong as ever. Hahah.

Now, on to the book reviews.

Malcolm X (authored by Al Ghazali, published by PTS):

This is a life story of Malcolm X from when he was a child until his death. I was inspired to read this book because of the #BlackLivesMatter phenomenon in the US. As you probably know, Malcolm X was a major figure and leader of Nation of Islam, a black Human Rights Organization who advocated for black supremacy as a counter-attack and a reaction against the white supremacy at that time. So in fighting the racism of the white, he became a black racist as a result. But bear in mind that this is the time when black segregation was still strong in the US. Separate schools for the black, separate public toilets, separate restaurants… it was ridiculous! Facing the daily discrimination of every aspect of his life for all of his childhood and adult life, you kind of understand why Malcolm X had such a strong reaction to the white supremacy until he himself became a black racist. It was Nietzsche who had said that “whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster” and I think this was the case for Malcolm X for awhile because he was furious at the white people.

Malcolm X was a very powerful figure to the point that the popularity of Elijah Muhammad (the supreme leader of the Nation of Islam) was surpassed by him. There was some political power struggle going on there as well. Eventually, Malcolm X went for hajj in Makkah where he noticed that all races are equal in the eyes of God. For the first time in his life, black Muslims could pray side by side with White Muslims! For the first time, he could enter restaurants and toilets for all races without being frowned at or chased away. For the first time, the colour of his skin didn’t matter. The experience of Hajj left such a powerful impression on him that he returned to America, denouncing his Black Supremacy ideology and renouncing the Nation of Islam. He changed his name to El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz  and founded the Islamic Muslim Mosque Inc. He continued to be powerful and popular among all Americans. People came in droves to hear his lectures. But the Nation of Islam always felt antagonized by his popularity and his message of racial equality (because Nation of Islam propagated Black Supremacy still). At last, he was assassinated on the 21st of Februray 1965.

To summarize his end of life, a quote taken from Wikipedia says “Malcolm X is a widely celebrated figure within African-American and Muslim American communities for his pursuit of racial justice. He was posthumously honored with Malcolm X day, on which he is commemorated in various cities across the United States. Hundreds of streets and schools in the U.S. have been renamed in his honor, while the Audubon Ballroom, the site of his assassination, was partly redeveloped in 2005 to accommodate the Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Educational Center.”

So how many stars do I give this book? Based on AFBRS: I gave 1 star for plot; I gave 1 star for characters and characterization, ¼ star for language, ¾ star for facts that are weaved into the plot, and ½ star for subjective enjoyment. So altogether, this book had earned 3.5 stars.

The Great Philosophers (authored by Stephen Law, published by Quercus):

This is a non-fiction book for those who want an introduction to philosophy. Stephen Law is a senior lecturer in Philosophy, in University of London and has authored many more philosophy books. This book gave an introduction to philosophical ideas of 50 great philosophers throughout the human history. If you are new to philosophy and just want to have a taste of what philosophy is all about, then I do feel that this is a good enough introduction book for you. You can read the philosophy of Buddha, Confucius, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Ibn Rushd (Averroes), David Hume, Nietzsche and many more. This book provides you breadth but not depth. But I was engaged enough.

Based on ANFRS: I gave this book ½ star for content, ¾ star for clarity of thought, ½ star for language, ¾ star for credibility of author, and ½ star for subjective enjoyment. So altogether, this book has earned 3 stars.

The King Sulayman: Misteri Haikal Dan Kerajaan Nabi Sulaiman A.S (authored by Abu Muhammad Arafah Adha, published by Hijjaz Records Publishing):

This is a non-fiction book about Prophet Sulaiman, his power and his wealth and how this part of the history of Prophet Sulaiman is being claimed by the Zionists so that they could build a new Solomon Temple and justify the demolishment of Masjidil Aqsa. For those who are not familiar with the issue of Palestine, Baitulmaqdis is a place of interest for all three Abrahamic religions. For Muslims, it is the Masjidil Aqsa that is of importance. For the Christians, it is the Church of the Holy Sepulchre that they revere because this was the site where they believed Nabi Isa was crucified. For the Jews, they believed that buried underneath the Masjidil Aqsa, there was to be discovered a sacred temple called the Temple of Solomon. In fact the wailing wall was said to be part of the ruin from the now buried Temple of Solomon. So this is why Baitulmaqdis is a place of profound importance for all three religions, in a nutshell.

I was very impressed by the quality of the book: high-quality shiny papers are used to make up the pages of the book and there were plenty of illustrations in a lot of pages.

But I do find that the history part of Jerusalem is a bit all over the place in terms of the actual chronological order. If you are not familiar with the story of the prophets, the history of Palestine and the over-all timeline of wars in Palestine, you will be quite disoriented. My suggestion is, the author should include a simplified timeline at the start of the book. The timeline should start from the time of Nabi Ibrahim at least. Because we know that the Jews (Yahudi) are descendants of Nabi Yaakub, who was the son of Nabi Ishak, who was the son of Nabi Ibrahim (so it makes sense that the time line should start with Nabi Ibrahim at least). When Nabi Ibrahim came to Palestine (to escape from Mesopotamian Raja Namrud; now this is modern day Iraq), Palestine was still inhabited by the Canaan people (kaum Kanaan). So the Jews were not the original people of Palestine as they had sometimes claimed to be. Nabi Ibrahim stayed in Palestine for awhile and his descendants, Nabi Yaakub and his sons (Nabi Yusuf and his brothers) lived in Palestine for awhile… but later on, the whole family followed Nabi Yusuf to stay in Egypt when Nabi Yusuf became the guardian of the Egyptian treasury during a period of severe drought in the region. As time passed by, the Jews (descendant of Nabi Yaacob) became enslaved in Egypt after the dynasty of the Pharoah won the war against the people of Egypt at that time. Subsequently, Nabi Musa saved the Bani Israel by splitting the sea and leading them out towards Sinai and this was where they stayed for many years. Finally, they were able to enter Palestine after they fought the war against the people of Canaan…if you recall, there was quite a history about Talut in the Quran and how he was appointed as a leader around this time… and later on Nabi Daud married the daughter of Talut and became the king in Palestine. And his son Nabi Sulaiman also inherited the kingdom later on… the greatest kingdom that ever was and ever will be. The Bani Israel lived in prosperity for a good while. But later on, many empires (Babylon, Persian, Rome) conquered Palestine… so again the Jews were displaced. In this book, there are various more details of the modern day Palestine history and wars (especially after the fall of the Uthmaniyyah Caliphate) but they are not narrated with a chronological timeline in this book. This book is arranged based on points of interest rather than chronology…. so it does get confusing if you are interested in the historical part instead. Luckily, I am somewhat familiar with the history of Palestine, so it was not that massively confusing to me. But even then, it was a struggle because I don’t always recall everything that I had learned. I had to check and double-check what I had already known against what I was reading in the book (or maybe this is just me being pedantic again hahah. Other people might feel that this is good enough for them.)

If you are interested in the history of Palestine, you should read this book. I mean.. learning history is always going to be confusing anyway but you must start somewhere, right? So this book is a good place to start as any. For very high-quality papers that make up the pages of this book and the various illustrations and facts that I had learned from this book, the price of RM 37.90 is actually very reasonable. I do recommend you guys to read this book as an introduction to Palestinian history.

Based on ANFRS: I gave this book 1 star for content, ¾ star for clarity of thought, ½ star for language, ¼ star for credibility of author (I actually have no idea who he is. I don’t know if this is a fair amount of star to be given for his credibility. I tried to google him superficially but there was nothing on him. I don’t know whether he is a post-grad student of history or what credibility he has otherwise. Please let me know if you guys know anything about him), 1 star for subjective enjoyment. So altogether this book has earned 3.5 stars.

Until next time, my dear readers. Salam Merdeka! Much love and may Allah bless all of us with the freedom to fight for what is right, guided by His light of wisdom.

 

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