Monday, March 24, 2003

Last night I wanted American and UK soldiers to die. The arrogance of their generals and also the one sided media reports really got to me. I should be careful with what I wished for.

This morning's news on the BBC mentioned several "coalition" soldiers were killed and are missing. Al-Jezira, the "CNN of the Arab World", did one better; they showed these missing and captured men on TV.

Even to my surprise, I was shocked, horrified and a I felt a sense of remorse. Soldiers merely follow orders. It is their job to do so and we really cannot blame them, be they Americans, British or even Iraqis. We should feel pity for these men who are being sent out to their deaths, maybe for some of these men, for something they half believe in.

Wilfred Owen was right. It is not sweet and fitting to die for one's country

1. BBC reports on the airing of "Coalition" POWs

Football. Yesterday was a happy day for me in sports. Not only did Kimi win yesterday, even Arsenal had finally turned their rut in form. We had beaten Everton at home in a close game by a 2-1 margin. I liked one of my best friend's quote today, "turds are what comes out of arses...aaah.....its feels good to be back....hope you guys (ed. anti-Gooners) enjoyed it while it lasted.. " Sigh... revenge is sweet!

Sunday, March 23, 2003

F1. My first team wins the GP again this time in Sepang. Eventhough David Coulthard crashed at the second turn in the first lap, young Kimi Raikonnen sped to his first ever GP win. Well done Kimi! Mercedes-Mclaren will kick ass this season.

Football. Yes, Arsenal is out of the Champions League. And some friends of mine think we deserved it. Too cocky we were, as anti-Gooners provide the excuse for our downfall in Europe. But tonight we face Everton, the team that broke our unbeaten run for the longest time. Perhaps we are to have an irony where we turn the table of luck to our side and proceed towards the local double.

Friday, March 21, 2003

Funny this Blog thing. I have now read all of Salam Pax's Blog entries. Yes, even his archives from Where_Is_Raed v1.0. He has has said that by reading his blog we have known him better than anyone else in real life, and I totally agree with him.

Finally, I have an Iraqi persepective to the war. However, there is still one thing that deludes me; is his opinion is of the majority of does his opinion belong to the educated elite in Iraq?

I am not an expert in Iraqi demographics. Perhaps I should email him and ask him myself.

I was in Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war. My whole family was there. Except for my father. He was in Kuwait for a conference and with the war breaking out he had to return to Baghdad by a bus. I have never asked him how that trip was. Perhaps I will call him today and ask. That day sometime in the early 80's ( I think I was five years old) I woke up to the sound of shelling. I was not sure whether it weas missiles or bombs from a plane but it was loud. I was alone still asleep in my parent's bedroom while my mother, my brother and my mother's helper was downstairs in the kitchen.

I recall my mother composed and we started to cry as we huddled under the kitchen table. With my father stranded in Kuwait and this was our first time in a war, we were very afraid. Later we were picked up by the embassy and that night we all sat under the ambassador's long dining table as we listen to the anti-aircarft guns.

I am so glad that we in Malaysia do not have to face such calamities.

Thursday, March 20, 2003

War is Coming! Unfortunate the world that we live in is not as black and white as we would like it to be. We do not have a Superman character (one is totally good till it make you want to puke) or even a Goliath charater (one who is bent on destruction blah blah).

Not wanting to dwell too much on cartoon characters (we do have more complex cartoon characters), the world's position on many things are mostly grey, full of ifs and buts.

It is the media that makes these greys whiter or more black than it seems. CNN still calls the American led force "The Coalition Force" even has only another member with the UK.

Who is the enemy? A long time ago Saddam was a friend. The Iranians were supposedly the "evil" ones. The sad thing was that many Muslims did take side against a backdrop of Sunni vs Shiah when we should have called for peace between brothers.

Now is Saddam the enemy or friend? I am not too sure. We know what the US wants. We know what the Iraqi govt wants. We know what the Kurds in Iraq want. We know what the Kuwaitis and Saudi want.

But do we know what the average Iraqi want?

I have been up every night trying to find out. I have not been successful.

Untl this morning. The Americans have started to bomb Baghdad and I found a little blogsite alledgedly by an Iragi in Baghdad. Pleasant reading

P.S. Even our Malaysian CD Bootleggers get a mention for helping out with the war! Check out his :: Sunday, March 09, 2003 :: entry.

Friday, March 14, 2003

War poetry. When I was in school, english literature was compulsory. One of my favorite poets was Wilfred Owen. A soldier and stationed in France during the First World War and was killed in battle a year before any of his works were published. A famous quote with regards to his poetry reflects his bitterness with war, "My subject is War, and the pity of War. The Poetry is in the pity."

My two favourite ones are Dulce et Decorum est (below) and Anthem for Doomed Youth.


Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned out backs,
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots,
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame, all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of gas-shells dropping softly behind.

Gas! GAS! Quick, boys!--An ecstasy of fumbling
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time,
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime.--
Dim through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams before my helpless sight
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin,
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs
Bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,--
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.

The Old Lie: Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori means "It is Sweet and Fitting to Die for One's Country" taken from Horace's famous ode

Wednesday, March 12, 2003

Life and Faith. Yesterday, our Kelisa finally arrived from Johor and I went straight to the workshop to have a look at the car.

Due to a quarrel with the people that actually towed my car to their own workshop (without my permission if I might add) it was my first look at it since the accident. Not for faint hearts, the images below was taken with my new Nokia 7650 (thanks to an early birthday present from my partner in crime!) - Thanks Bee!

There are more pictures and you can peruse them below:

1. Kelisa Side View
2. Kelisa Side Front
3. Kelisa Close Up of Place of Impact
4. Kelisa Roof

What I have realised after seeing the car was that I was very lucky to have escaped with only stitches in my right arm and leg.

But is it just luck that I got away only with minor injuries? Or is there a larger scheme of things that I am a part of? With three accidents within the space of eight months one may realise that something might be wrong with me, or even my "chi".

As a Muslim one has to believe Qada' and Qadar, one of the five pillars of Faith, if I may quote from the website of the Islamic Society of Kansas City:

" If so, then one who believes in the true God should believe that there are no accidents in nature. If something disagreeable happens to him, he should say "God qad-dara (ordained), and He did what He willed" and not waste himself over wishing that it had not occurred, or worrying why it should occur. If on the other hand something agreeable happens to him he should not boast of it, but thank God for it."

Malays, as with other cultures, have incorporated their own superstitions into religion. I think this is the wrong way about to doing things.

As far as I am concerned, I thank Allah that my family and I are safe and survived the three accidents. All I can do is to improve myself as a Muslim and Insya-Allah over time perform all the duties and and be a better Muslim.

1. Qadar: Divine Preordainment
2. View Islam.Org

Tuesday, March 11, 2003

Just too many accidents. My cousin's girlfriend was involved in an accident on Saturday. She was riding her motorcycle and hit into a car that suddenly did a U-turn somewhere in Cheras. She is stable but with broken ribs, wrist and maybe a punctured kidney.

Worst still, when a female traffic sergeant came by she "gave" my cousin a lawyer's card (a coincidence or is it rampant?). This lawyer persistently called the poor lady. My cousin had to tell the lawyer over the phone and politely told him that they had already appointed a lawyer and if there was anything he would call the lawyer.

There are just too many idiots on and off the road.

Monday, March 10, 2003

Football: Arsenal vs Chelsea (FA Cup). To Gooner fans' disappointment, the weekend match ended in a draw. I was away in Senai that night and was scratching my head as to where I could watch my favourite team play as we did not have ASTRO at my in-law's.

After much discussion with Farhat (my brother-in-law with the broken hip and jaw from our last accident), we were able to finally watch it near Restoran Senai Baru. There were me, Fawaz, Farhat and his crutches; apparently their first night out!

After the 3rd minute howler by the Gooner defence, we were back in front by half time thanks to Frannie Jeffers and Henry's skills. Chelsea equalised in the 83rd minute through Lampard's scramble/defection? All in all the Gooner defence had too many howlers for one night.

Now we have to face a Chelsea Replay at Stamford Bridge in two weeks time and many are already doubting Arsenal's chances in winning the treble. As with Arsene Wenger's reaction to the game, I am as confident we will still beat Chelsea and stay on course to our first treble!

A point to note: During the last few weekend matches, although brilliant wins, the Gooners were somewhat below par during their Champions League matches.

Perhaps we are to crush Roma this week?

Go Gooners!!!

Highway Homicides. On Saturday I drove the longest trip since our accident. Since both of our cars are still either in the workshop or on the way to one, I drove Farhat's Daihatsu Charade Aura. It is a sturdy 3 cylinder hatchback, slightly under-powered but the petrol consumption is excellent.

After three accidents within the space of eight months, I have decided that if we were to drive somewhere far away, we will have to leave first thing in the morning. This is to reduce exposure to the idiots-on-the-road risks.

Driving down was quite fun. There were not many cars on the road as it was still quite early (despite our noble attempts we only managed to lift off at 1030 hrs!) Stopped a couple of times along the way and we even played juvenile school games in the car! (The radio could not really get a signal once we were close to Senai...)

Let me cut to the chase. Driving back was a nightmare.

We left my father-in-law's house around 1900hrs and we arrived in Petaling Jaya five hours later, I was partially traumatised. In a nutshell, I had to hang on to my dear life as fast cars lunge their vehicles trying to change my mind from overtaking the slower vehicle in front of me. In one instance I even gave up overtaking as cars from two miles away began tailgating our car in a mere seconds.

As if cars that were over the national speed limit many times over were not enough, we then had to cope with the fast moving commuter buses. A couple of companies come to mind, Nice (yes, even the double decker ones), some Transnasional and in particlar last night was the KKKL Express (my wife calls it the Ku Klux Klan Express). I seem to remember that commercial vehicles are only allowed to speed up to 90km/h. There were many instances that some of these buses were at least at 120km/h.

The question arises whether there are enough enforcement of the law to curb these highway kamikazes. It comes to mind that the occasional road blocks and the regular traffic summonses are still not enough.

Maybe what we need is the constant and dedicated camera surveillance on our highways. And stiffer penalties.

When one hurls their vehicle (be it small or large) without a care in their bone not unlike one playing with a gun and pointing it at your head? I know we have a stiffer penalty for the latter. When one tailgates you at 120km/h is it not unlike a gangster threatening injury? And when either of these incidents turn fatal is it not unlike murder?

Malaysia had 5,372 fatal accidents last year with around 650 fatalities involving motor vehicles.

It is still the No. 1 Killer in Malaysia.

Friday, March 07, 2003

What is in a name? The Malays, being traditionally superstitious, believes that when one calls your name it becomes a prayer. Take my wife's name for example, in Arabic it means success. With the name being two-syllabled it makes it even easier to say the whole name and enhancing your chances of it being an effective prayer, if it was to be one.

However, the problem comes when your name is more that two syllables. People will start giving you nick names or be clever in amputating you name, either calling you with the first or last syllable.

Let us dissect my name; Sharizal. It has a Persian origin which literally means King of Men; Shah=King and Rizal=Man/Warrior. So, calling me by the first syllable will hopefully make me King one day, while the latter will make me somewhat ordinary or even maybe, God-forbid, down-right stereotypical.

A couple of nights ago, I was at a PROMUDA seminar with my wife, and an acquaintance started to call me Shah. I told him that is what other people call my father (his name is Shaarani). I politely told him that it is best to call me Rizal. Then I thought about it and I added, perhaps it would be better if he called me Sharizal.

Who would not want to be King of Men one day? I had even changed my Blogger nickname from Rizal to Sharizal.

My name in Arabic