Sunday, September 16, 2007

Reaching Out

Morning at 11. Fourth day of Ramadhan, sans maid and I have done the household chores except cooking.
Time to put my feet up. Relax. Read the news.
There's a world outside and I have to know what's going on.
Good news, bad news.
Sigh. I can't change the world. Heck, I can't change things in my own country.

I am reminded that Raja Zarith Sofia Idris writes a column, "Mind Over Matters", in The Sunday Star.
I like her and I like what she writes. And she writes, from where she is standing, about her life's experience, her point of view about issues that touch her.
You'd expect some la-di-da tone or that patronizing and condescending note in her writing.
If you really did, then Raja Zarith Sofia is a disappointment because you can't detect all that.
She is so down to earth and I do believe that she writes from the heart.

In her column about "Separate Realities" today Raja Zarith Sofia comes to the realisation, like the rest of us, that it is not possible to help the thousands of poor and underprivileged people across the globe. So, we do what we can, when we can to help change the life of people we know. In her case, she is set to help an old lady, Aminah Mohd Tahir, perform her pilgrimage.

She writes:

Earlier, my younger son had just told me about an old lady, Aminah Mohd Tahir, whom he had met that afternoon; she was born without hands and feet. He showed me the book “Catatan Dari Syurga” (Notes from Heaven) that had been written about her life by Rohani Deraman.

Aminah was married, first to a man who deserted her after she bore him a child, and then to another whom her parents did not approve of because he was not a Malay. But for some years, they did have a happy marriage during which she bore him six children. He died of asthma and she, as a single mother and physically handicapped, had to feed and clothe her six children. She did so by working for other families, by looking after their children or washing clothes.

Her youngest son Jaleel recalled how, as children, they ate rice mixed with salted water. There was nothing else for them to eat.

Aminah’s dream is to be able to perform the haj. We were wondering how best to help her make her dream come true when news about the earthquake diverted our attention for a while. My son said Aminah was crying at a ceremony where she and about 100 poor and single mothers were given food items for Ramadan.

While there will be international and local coverage on TV about the earthquake in Sumatra and the victims, there will be none on Aminah. So, in the end, there remains just a few of us who will know about Aminah’s plight and desire to go for pilgrimage.

Perhaps, instead of trying to save the whole world, I can start with just this one person who lives not far from us. She is now part of my reality. The voice of guilt has become louder. It tells me I must try to make her dream come true. I hope I can.

During our 50th year of Merdeka, I know that there’ll be many Malaysians who will be generous and caring enough to help make Aminah’s wish become a much longed-for reality. Inshallah.

I know many people would turn a blind eye or simply turn the other way to the plight of the poor and underprivileged.

I suppose it is easier to do that.


zaitgha said...


I always do what one hadith i learned sometimes ago which said something like if we wanted to do good the best is to people nearest/closest to you...always nice to read something like this about someone like Raja Zarith...

regards and take care...

Rockybru said...

ah, that's very noble of her. i have always liked raja zarith's columns, too. she does not talk about issues; she is almost always in the thick of the issues she writes about.

another good thing is that she is not being promoted and over-exposed by some mainstream media. raja nazrin, on the other hand, is a victim of that. i like raja nazrin, too, but i fear the press is blowing him out of proportions. there is always the fear that one day the people's expectations may be severely deflated, or punctured.

Mat Salo said...

Kak Ena (Superwoman-sans-maid),

Even with a help you are already a superwoman, what more without? How do you do it?

As for RZS, I like her writing too. And frankly, her coming from "upper level society" dominated by Malaysian Tattler subscribers who think nothing nothing of plonking a cool RM91K on a handbag (!) - I'm amazed at that her writings aren't pretentious at all.

Err Kak Ena, you subscribe M-T (Tattler I mean) ke? Or just peruse the ones in the salon when you have your hair done..

Anonymous said...

Yes..its so surprising for someone of her status to speak/write so deown to earth. I am a Johearean and am very awe of her and what she does for charity..alot more can be said abt the family she married into..Thanks..


zai: yes... charity begins at home..

Mat Salo: i need a maid i need a maid! i really do. (luckily in the process of getting a new one).
my hands are so abused because i am allergic to soda (in detergent and soap).
yes yes, wearing gloves now whenever i do the washing.
got myself a real good hand cream ("the best hand cream in the world", it seems) and an ointment as well.

but there's a good thing in all kids are a little bit less dependent on a maid., i dont subscirbe to tattler. at the hairdresser's, i usually read Australian mag, "New Ideas"...becaus eof the crossword puzzles..

thanks for visiting, Mat Salo..
and Kamal kirim salam.

anon@3:55PM: thank u..

A Voice said...

Anon 3:55 PM - Isn't she Perak's gift for Johor?

Nuraina - I've heard of Tan Sri SM donate to cukupkan belanja for pilgrimmage of the old and poor.

Anonymous said...

Sis Ena
Raja Zarith can be hard-hitting too when the need arises. Who can forget her newspaper article published sometime ago lamenting the so-called epic movie about the legendary princess Puteri Gunung Ledang (PGL). As author of the children’s book with the same title as the movie, it is evidently clear that she’s not amused with the movie for glorifying form over substance such as the illusory love triangle and the princess’ penchant of baring her shoulder. She asked a barrage of pointed questions, including:
Is it very awful to portray PGL as Malaysian?
Why “research” for the movie was done at a kraton?

It is also evidently clear in the article that she is very proud of her heritage. She is named after Zaris Gangga from the Kingdom of Gangga Negara which was established about a thousand years ago. From the article, we learned also how the Taming Sari keris ended up with the Perak Royal Family… and boy didn’t she describe the keris so graphically too. The spirited article leaves you with this after taste: The movie is glam and multi-million, but what a waste of salt!

Talking about after taste, sahur dengan apa kejap lagi?


voice: good to know that.... it's the least mega-rich people like tan sri SM could do for charity.

selamat bersahur!


aMiR: yes... i am remembering that article she wrote. She did not mince her words. hard-hiting, yes. She knew what she was talking about. know, there are princesses and there are princesses.
She's refreshingly intelligent and genuinely concerned about things that you and I are concerned about. And she doesn't just talk and lament and forget about them. She does something, in the best way she knows.
As I have said, I am no royalist. Far from it. But I am not prejudiced. She is as genuine as any other genuine non-royal. She just happens to be a princess.

now... about sahur...
rice, ayam panggang/ikan gorengm (I cannot have both, can only have either. dunno why, like that-lah), sayur bayam, telur goreng, ikan asin, sambal belacan.
dessert: chocolates (Swiss), a cup of milo (only during the fasting month).
then, kurma and plain water....

selamat bersahur!

Asri said...

Most royals I see (at least the high ranked ones)are flush with money. To them, an S-Class is just like a Kancil to us.

So why doesn't she help those people using her own money, if she's so concerned?

But I guess she is better than most royals. Kelantan and Pahang would be a good example. You know what I mean....