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October 20, 2004

Break Fast Furore

It has been only six days into bulan Ramadhan and I can't stand it anymore. For the uninitiated, bulan Ramadhan is the month when all Muslims have to fast from 6 am to 7 pm, but the period varies according to different areas and regions. I don't hold any grudges against my Malay friends or, as a whole, the Malay community in Shah Alam by virtue of their piety towards abiding one of the 6 Rukun Iman: to abstain from food and drinks during the month of Ramadhan. In fact, I'm proud, for the first time of my entire life, to be among the Malay community and experience the void of gastronomical pleasure for 12 hours per day. That notion, at least, outlived the first day of this holy month.

I thought: Yeah, it's quite alright, you know, to fast together with my friends. It's kinda fun also, not to mention a way to keep fit and an alternative to live as those poor souls in the poorest part of Africa and Middle East, bless them. All in all, it adds up being more beneficial than harm done.

That's the second day.

You know, it's relatively easy to keep a sanguine outlook about fasting for a day or two, but it's quite a different matter altogether when you are facing the prospect of going hungry for a month! Heck, now I'm feverishly crossing out the days on my calendar, counting every hour and minute to the end of this whole holy cause. For the past few days, I have been surviving on bread and biscuits that were recently stashed full after a fruitful trip back home. But how can anyone be so insensitive to eat and drink in front of friends who are ever-so piously concentrating on fulfilling their religious obligations? No, that would be more sinful than what the worst sinner has ever sinned. So, with a sense of guilt, I resorted to fill my stomach in empty classrooms, out of anyone's sight.

However, I realised that it's just my own wild imagination of non-Muslims being reprimanded or bludgeoned for disrespecting the holy cause that made me uneasy. I was told frankly by one of my Malay friend that they mind a little when we eat during the fasting period, but they have learnt how to compromise. They know that we, the non-Muslims, are not a willing party in this whole thing and they don't blame us even a bit. And I found out not all mamak stalls, shops and cafeterias are closed during noontime. Some of them, one being AmeerAli which is near my hostel, specially put up the business to cater for our needs. I'm truly grateful for that.

In the meantime, I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the weather will stay cloudy like that today and no one falls ill because of heatstroke, thirst or just plain hunger.

1 hour and 22 minutes to go... Happy Break Fasting to all!

Posted by peixin at 05:38 PM | Comments (4)

October 05, 2004

Theology and Philosophy

That's one subject which can boggle your mind for hours, maybe days. Ironically, theology and philosophy are supposedly the basic principles of understanding religions and life in the universe. Probably this proves that the origins of life are just as enimagtic as how Bill Gates become the most affluent man in the States (USD$46 billion of fortune) again. And Sir Eric Clapton just announced that part of his multibillion fortune will go to all his god-sons and god-daughters, including the Beckhams' duo kiddo, Brooklyn and Romeo.

But don't let me digress further. My main point is: theology is one hard nut to crack, philosophy is even harder (try understanding the oh-sooo-smart-alecky-and-bush-beating conversations in the Matrix trilogy). Okay, that's just an anology. From my point of view, weaving theology and philosophy into a huge tapestry of jargons and theories is too much to handle. First, I'll try to clear some of my fundamental doubts here. For the past 3 months, I have been studying a myriad of things: the origins of universe, the origins of life and mankind, why mankind needs religions, the challenges of mankind living in this world, the Big Bang, Darwinism, Islamic Studies, Christianity, Buddhism, Confusianism, Taoism, Hinduism and Sikhism. My question is: which one is theological, and which one is philosophical?

My comprehension: there is little, if it exists at all, difference between the two as they are inter-related. At least, that's what I understand.

Let's talk about the Big Bang. The notion of 'something exists out of nothing' is quite astounding, given the knowledge that matter can't be created or destroyed which I learnt in Tingkatan 4 Kimia Bab 1. This contradiction is resolved when I come across the the theory of quantum mechanics. It seems that the universe began when a vast amount of energy, concentrated in an infinitesimal space, exploded in all direction after withstanding a great amount of pressure and heat. However, in some notes I read, it says that our universe began with mass in a concentrated space. We know that matter exhibits both mass and wave properties albeit more to the former. So, I'm disconcerted to which theory to trust: Energy or Mass?

But that doesn't matter much, I suppose. The important thing is to accept that there must be some omnipotent, omnipresent being who overlooked such great creation, which certainly didn't happen by chance. And that being is GOD. I believe the incorporation of scientific understanding and spiritual belief is the ultimate achievement of such studies as theology and philosophy.

Posted by peixin at 12:51 PM | Comments (5)