Thursday, August 30, 2012


The discussion on moral values has made me so sick to the bone that I seemed to have developed a mental immunity strain against it. It has reached a point where if anybody tries to sell me anything with the word "God" in it I will literally turn my ears off.

Listen to the preacher who tells us at the dawn of Eid that we must elect a political leader with the same religious faith.

Listen to the teacher who told his students that if they wish to travel far around the world, they must pray to God.

Listen to the mother who tells her daughter that if she desires to be successful in life, she must respect her parents, not as a a form of gratitude to the parents but as a matter of obedience to God.

Listen to the friend who advises her closest friend that the hardships of marriage are simply natural satan-wrought challenges that come part and parcel with every effort we make to become closer to God, including marriage.

The preacher did not speak of leadership. The teacher did not talk about hard work. The mother did not talk about unconditional giving. The friend did not talk about communication.

My entire being became a blank concrete wall which would absorb nothing. Imagine what this could do to the impressionable. It would result in a society that is happy in forgiving and accepting everything that life gives. Because they can leave the rest to God. They are all so arrogant and complacent with God's gifts.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


I checked her out on twitter and read her bio, opened her timeline, scrolled down a bit to about two weeks worth of tweets.  Nothing special except that she seemed to have good intentions. Nothing threatening.

But it is always the well-intended friendly women who are the most threatening.  They work inwardly, embracing the joy of working, unsoiled by petty ambitions.

Later we fought a bitter war at the interviews and I gracefully admit a truce, if not defeat by a slim margin. It is true she was a threat by virtue of perhaps not intending to be one. She is now doing some exciting project which I always thought of doing but never got around to doing.  I toss my head at this and message her my support.  One must find joy in a world that is full of good ideas and activism. 

But, and I ask you this, what must one do with that quick sting of jealousy?

As for me I have sat here and changed colors for the past hour like a malfunctioned chameleon. As my head starts to boil some ideas bubble up to the surface and demand to be manifested before someone else gets to it. 

This, right here, is a thin line between embracing my passion and posing a threat.

Thursday, August 2, 2012


It is always dark and a little chilly at dawn. We sit hunched in a circle on our praying mats and, although it is too dark and I am too sleepy, their voices sound like their faces are glowing. Mom asks forgiveness and Dad giggles; it is a half-joking half-serious ritual committed consistently every morning. Dad nods encouragingly at Mom so that she can start leading the prayers - the Indonesian part of the prayers.

She chatters forth quickly, her pauses not delivered at the comas or semi-colons, but at the end of her breath.  Dear God Almighty the most benevolent the most knowledgeable and the most. Forgiving please forgive our sins and the sins of our parents and the sins that we know of and. The sins that we do not know we have committed because we did not know and You are most. Knowledgeable Dear God and thank you we are grateful for all the blessings You have bestowed. Upon us...

The prayer goes on for 15 minutes. It is long and comprehensive. They say that when you pray for something you must be specific, so when people pray for a blessed life they leave nothing out. Not cars and holidays and worldly material, but blessing and forgiveness and health and clear visions and straight paths and, most importantly, "abundant fortune" - which humans can interpret as something material or something spiritual, but God would know best because He can read your soul and is Most Knowledgeable.

My boss quipped the other day during dinner, that we shouldn't pray too much lest God be weary.  "Especially Muslims!", he exclaimed. "we multiply God's chores by five times every day!"  I have that feeling when I am standing up by my office window looking down at the tiny cars and tiny people swarming by below. If I were God I wouldn't care about these ants. They are too many and too meaningless; and their problems are too petty. Unless I were inside them. One with them, part of them, each and every one of them. Then I would care but it would be less a matter of caring and more a matter of just Being.  Pulsating like a vein.

At dawn I appreciate the glow of their faces as they perform these rituals they hold so dear.  With a sense of urgency. As soon as the first calls to prayer can be heard, Mom urgently tells me to prepare. Quick! Quick! As if God couldn't wait. Dad's Arabic prayer and Mom's Indonesian prayer press upon me, forcing me to feel the calm that I should ideally be feeling instead of chilled and sleepy. They don't know that God is closer to me than my veins.