Friday, March 16, 2007

Is it so hard to respect and love each other?

Last two weeks I was having a very hard time dealing with an Arab friend. As usual my regular Arab friends and I will go for lunch together. It's all started when one of them suddenly said, "I hate Malay". I was shocked because that word suddenly came out of nowhere and it was publicly mentioned in front of me. I asked why he said that because I was very sure that he must have some problems dealing with some people particularly Malay people. Then he told me the story. It's quite a long story. He has problem with university administration, with security, with this and with that. Wow so many problems? Why only him having so many problems? He told probably because he's a 'Bad Boy', a nickname given by him himself.

He added, "You know we (Arabs) like to argue but Malay don't. Malays always say yes". But this is too general isn't it? I'm not defending my Malay blood. As far as my knowledge about my race is concern, they also like to argue by their own way. Surprisingly, all the other Arab friends kept quiet. Unable to disagree with him. Does this mean that they are a 'yes man'? Certainly not. Same like Malays, if they don't argue, it doesn't mean they agreed. Our cultures are different. Things don't always happen the way you are used to.

I couldn't recall everything he said but among others are:
"You may apply rules to your own people but you cannot apply those to us" and
"You can't do anything. The only thing you can do is to express your sorry on behalf of Malay. Just like the rest of others".

So pathetic isn't it? If I go to one's house, should I not respect the custom of the house? Can I say to the host that I would like to do things my own way in their house? I can understand how frustrated he is but throwing all those words to me will not solve his problem, rather than improve Arab-Malay relationship. If I (considered as one of the closest friends to the Arabs) feel bad about this, how about the rest of Malays that are far from them? There are a lot of Malays out there that withdraw their money each year from their pockets to help their Muslim brothers in the Middle East. Even some poor Malays do that. But what do they get in return? Hates and hatred. Sad isn't it? But this is just his opinion about Malays, I believe not all of them having the same views. May Allah forgive us and bless all of us.

One thing I believe – all Muslims are brothers regardless of his colour or race. I am myself a mixed race of Malay-Chinese descent. I hate those who are racists and Islam clearly prohibits racism.

We should NOT generalize unless for good thing. We should be careful with our words. We can't runaway from mistakes. There are always people making mistakes in each society and our societies are not exempted. Our responsibility as a Muslim is to remind each other to do good thing and to stay away from bad deeds. We have been divided enough. Don't let ourselves be more divided. Enough is enough!!

"And hold fast, all of you together, to the Rope of Allaah (i.e. this Qur’aan), and be not divided among yourselves"

Surah Al-'Imran [3:101]

Abu Hurairah, radiyallahu 'anhu, reported that the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu 'alayhi wasallam, said:
"Do not be envious of one another; do not artificially inflate prices against one another; do not hate one another; do not shun one another; and do not undercut one another in business transactions; and be as fellow-brothers and servants of Allah.

Muslim is the brother of a Muslim. He neither oppresses him nor humiliates him nor looks down upon him. Piety is here - and he pointed to his chest three times. It is evil enough for a Muslim to hold his brother Muslim in contempt. All things of a Muslim are inviolable for another Muslim: his blood, his property and his honour."

[Recorded by Imam Muslim]

Allah made the believers as brothers so that they have mercy upon one another; so that they love one another; so that they help one another and support one another. This is how Muslims should be…

Wallahu a'lam

Monday, March 12, 2007

The Taste of Wasabi - Oh My God!!!

First of all, let me remind my Muslim brothers. Beware of Japanese food because a lot of them are non-halal. We don't want non-halal stuff to become part of our blood and flesh. They will darken our hearts. TESCO sushi in Malaysia however has been certified halal by Islamic Authority of Malaysia. I bought one Sushi set consists of Makizushi and Nigirizushi with different toppings. The seaweed taste delicious. However I don't like the Japanese 'sambal belacan', which they called it wasabi. Taste awful man... From far, it looks like green peppermint paste (Malay: sambal pudina). I just dipped my sushi on the wasabi paste and fed them into my mouth with my smiling face. Oooooooooooo.... I screamed like tarzan. It bites my tongue and I can feel the wasabi vapour irritates my nasal passage. Oh my God!! That's it! Awwal marra akhir marra (The first and the last).

Wasabi Chemistry
Wasabi is a member of cabbage family, Wasabia japonica. The flavour mainly comes from the chemical ingredient - methylthioheptyl isothiocyanate.
Chemical formula: CH3S(CH2)7NCS

It may also consist of other form of isothiocyanates. Is it poisonous? Don't worry because it is NOT isocyanate (isocyanate is highly toxic - I used in my Master's research). Furthermore isothiocyanates in wasabi are less than 0.5%. A few studies showed that it acts as microb inhibitor. Some claimed that it can neutralize poison in seafood. So think about it.

Want to Try Wasabi?

It is easy to condemn other people's dish. We simply don't like it because their food do not style the way we are used to and tastes different than our custom food. I do appreciate dishes and delicacy from other cultures as long as they are halal. Therefore I would say you should try it. But make it very thin. Me... I like to try it again.