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Monday, September 27, 2010

Paying what is due

One of my personal aims in life is to rid myself of debts. To date, I have only three "major investments" namely my two houses and my car.

The first house that I bought is a bad investment. The developer ran away, and the buyers have to finish the project themselves. I bought this house shortly after getting married and I have more or less given up on moving into the house. I recently completed the construction of the house, and I plan to sell it upon returning from Makkah. (Advanced notice: If anyone is interested in buying a bungalow house located at Batu 14 Hulu Langat, leave a message here).

The other house that I bought is the one I am staying in now. This is the place I call home. And I consider this a very good investment.

The car that I own is bought because of its functionality, more than anything else. With two young boys and with my parents staying with me, an 8-seater comes in handy especially when travelling back to our hometown up north.

I hope with the sale of the house in Hulu Langat, I will be able to lighten one of my major financial commitments. The loan for the car will be settled in the next few years, so I am not too concerned about that. So, that leaves me only with the loan for my current home, which I have no qualms about.

I do not know about other people but I am one person who fret when I have debts. As much as possible, I would like to settle my debts as quickly as possible. As long as I know I owe someone money, I feel that there is a huge burden on my shoulder. And the satisfaction comes when that burden is lifted by paying back what I owe.

I have a friend who does not give out loans. To him, money is a very sensitive issue. He would rather people call him stingy, then quarrelling with his friends about money they owe him. That is why he never loans money to anyone.

At the end of the spectrum, I have another friend who is ever too kind. He never hesitates to lend money to friends who come to him. His generosity, more often than not, leaves him in a predicament. People go to him when they need his help. When it's time for people to pay up, he often feels that he has to beg for the money they owe him. He once said to me, "I know how a beggar feels. The only difference is, a beggar gets what he begs for, while in my case, I don't get what is mine in the first place."

Whatever it is, we have to remember that whatever that we owe others (whether financial institutions or friends or relatives), we have the responsibility to pay them back. Personally I do not believe in living a lavish life if I still owe others money. A few years back, when things were difficult for me, a few friends came to my aid. I will never forget their kindness. As soon as things got better, the first order of business for me was to settle whatever debt I have with them. And to this very day, our friendship has been strong and getting stronger with the passing months.

I believe that true friends would help one another when one is in need. At the same time, the true test of friendship also lies in the ability and willingness of the friend in need to pay back his friend's kindness when the time comes. Don't go looking for the friend only when we are in need. We should also look up for the friend when we are doing well. And worse still, don't make the friend feels like a beggar.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Taken for granted

More often than not, we tend to take things for granted. We also take other people for granted. And most of all, we don't realise that we take Allah for granted.

Just food for thought in this very short entry.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Preparing for a spiritual journey

I believe that a human being has three components which are interlinked with one another. The components are the physical, the mental (incorporating the intellectual and the emotional), and finally the spiritual. As a Muslim, I am of the opinion that each of these components has to be looked after and taken care of.

Most people will probably find looking after the physical well-being as the most obvious. This is because we can sense the physical component of ourselves using the five senses. That is why when we get hungry, we eat. We drink when we are thirsty. And if we are unwell, we will go for medical treatment.

The mental well-being is perhaps slightly more difficult to look after. The intellectual aspect of the mental well-being can be looked after by enriching ourselves with knowledge. The emotional aspect of the emotional well-being must be taken care of as well so that we would be mentally healthy, and not mentally disturbed.

The spiritual component is without doubt the most difficult to tend to. Some deny the existence of this component because it could not be scientifically observed. Nonetheless, as a Muslim, I hold that this component does exist even though we could not quantify it scientifically.

This spiritual component has to be continuously strengthened, and this is done through the many acts of worship prescribed in Islam. On a daily basis, the spiritual component is strengthened five times a day through the compulsory daily prayer. On an annual basis, this spiritual component goes through a month of fasting in Ramadhan where one faces many tests which, when overcome successfully, would increase the level of piety.

Another act of worship that strengthens the spiritual component comes in the form of the pilgrimage to Makkah. This is made compulsory on all Muslims who can afford to do so once in their lives. Many Muslims look forward to this pilgrimage. It is an experience that many cherish. And many who have gone to Makkah longed to return again and again.

Alhamdulillah, I have received my calling to go to Makkah this year. This is something I have been looking forward to for the past year. I pray that this spiritual journey will help in rejuvenating and strengthening my faith, insha-Allah.

Friday, September 17, 2010

National Organ Donation Awareness Week 2010

This is an advanced notification on an event that will be held for the first time in Malaysia. Beginning 16th of October 2010, the National Transplant Resource Centre (NTRC) will spearhead a week-long event commemorating organ donors and their family members. The inaugural event - the National Organ Donation Awareness Week 2010 - will see the participation of various government departments and agencies, NGOs, media players, individuals and others in promoting organ donation.

Many events will be held, and I will provide this information once the details have been finalised. So, stay tuned for the information. And make a date with the National Organ Donation Awareness Week 2010.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Shying away from blogging

A writer with few words. That is perhaps a paradox.

I know I have not been writing as much in the blogosphere for the past few months. It's not that I don't have things to write about, rather I just chose not to blog. Oft-times I believe it is best to keep your thoughts to yourself, rather than airing it in public. Blogs, and now social networking channels like Facebook and Twitter, allow one to be expressive. Just how expressive should one be depends on the person.

There are those who just love attention, who would blog every day or every other day, and who would update his/her Facebook status, and who would Tweet, if he/she sneezes or coughs or sees a cat running across the street. Not that I am saying that is bad or wrong, but I don't think we have to be overexposed in that sense. People don't really want to know every second or minute of your life. I believe there are things that we should just keep to ourselves.

There are those who can be narcissistic in the cyberworld. It's all about I, me and myself, as if he/she is the only one who matters in the cyber-community. Ironically, these are people who use the social networking channels to highlight their own selves.

Of course, there are many genuine users of blogs, Facebook and Twitter. I enjoy visiting and reading blogs with sincere entries, and not ego-polishing stories of one's self. I cherish people who uses Facebook status updates to wish his/her friends well on their birthdays, anniversaries, festivities and important occasions.

I think at the end of the day, it goes back to one's intention when using these Internet tools. These tools are useful, hence we should utilise it wisely. Perhaps, that is why I have been shying away from blogging. I will share my thoughts when and if they are worth sharing. Otherwise, I'll just keep them to myself.