Reviving kampung spirit via “Ketupat-thon” 

Reviving kampung spirit via


More than 3,000 ketupat casings, weaved from stripped young coconut leaves, were hand-made in a marathon dubbed “Ketupat-thon”, a 12-hour feat for charity at the newly-opened Wisma Geylang Serai yesterday.

Weaving ketupat casings is a kampung skill worth reviving to maintain kampung spirit of working together among neighbours.

“Ketupat-thon Charity” was led by Malay Grassroots Advisers to support Tabung Amal Aidilfitri (TAA).

The event, started from 4:30 am with the sahur (the pre-dawn meal) in preparation for the day’s fast – 28 Ramadhan coinciding with 13 June 2018.  Meals for the sahur as well as for iftar (breaking of fast at exactly 7:14 pm that day) were catered for at the venue.

At 7 am, “Ketupat-thon” commenced after a half-hour instruction on how to weave the ketupat casings or moulds in reviving kampung skills as well as maintaining the kampung spirit of working together or gotong-royong. Local celebrities entertained them with jokes and songs.

The multi-racial presence of Sparkletot kindergarten children and residents from an elderly home made the event livelier.  The children and the seniors tried their best to weave as many casings as they could and had lots of fun showcasing their effort.  They were among some 600 participants.

Multi-racial participants

Not sure of the next weaving move.  No problem.  Just glance at the huge LED monitor nearby that repeatedly provides all the weaving instructions.

The elderly, the youthful and the very young – all weaving themselves together for charity and fun.

Great concentration: Thanks for taking time to volunteer for the charitable event, “Kethupat-thon”

Participants’ comments

Two participants were interviewed for some comments about their skill in weaving ketupat casings.

Mr Rahmat Rabi…initial confusion eased within minutes.

A participant, Mr Rahmat Rabi, was a bit confused with the weaving. He said: “I forgot. Actually, I can weave kerupat casings but I did not do it for a long time, so I am doing it by trial and error now.” However, some 20 minutes later, Mr Rahmat, who said that he volunteered to participate in Ketupat-thon to revive this home-skill, had already weaved three casings.

Mdm Salmah Bee…learned ketupat casing weaving from her late mother.

Another participants, Mdm Salmah Bee Abdul Kader seemed to be an expert ketupat-casing weaver. “I have done over 150 moulds already since the marathon started this morning,” she said with joy, looking at her watch.  The time was 10:30 am.  She said that she had the experience of helping her late mother, Mdm Ainon, in weaving ketupat moulds every Hari Raya when they were living in the kampung in Jalan Senang.  “The young ought to learn this skill which is creative,” she added.

Result of “Ketupat-thon”

It was a great success.  The charity drive won an entry into the Singapore Book of Records with more than 3,775 ketupat casings beating the previous record of 2,200.

Achievement:   Dr Mohamad Maliki Osman receiving the Singapore Book of Records Certificate.

Charity collection

The “Ketupat-thon” participants’ ketupat casings went on sale for three hours from 8 o’clock last night.  More than $36,500 were collected from the sale and well-wishers and donated to TAA.

Another achievement and Grassroot Advisers show happiness: From  right, Dr Mohamad Maliki Osman, Mr Masagos Zulkifli and Mr Zaqy Mohamad (extreme left) showing happiness to have collected $36,568. The cheque will be handed over to Mr Muhammad Harmizan Abdul Hamid (second from left), Chairman of the Executive Committee of TAA.

When the ketupat casing is almost completely woven, a gap or a small opening was left at its top.  It is through this opening that, when the ketupat is to be cooked, rice is poured in three-quarter filled and then the opening is sealed with a final weave.

Bundles of the rice-filled casings are immersed in boiling water till the rice gets fully cooked, occupying the whole mould tightly.

The squarish-shaped rice cake, flavoured by the young coconut leaves, called ketupat is cut into convenient pieces before the casings are removed easily wih the fingers. The rice cake is eaten with dishes like rendang, sayur lodeh, serunding, sambal tumis and sambal goreng. It is a favourite of the Malay Muslims for Hari Raya Aidil Fitri (Eid ul-Fitri or Celebration Day of Charity) which falls tomorrow (1 Syawal or Friday, 15 June).

Time for celebration

The writer of this article with Dr Yacob Ibrahim, retired Minister, who watched the participants in action in the morning, and “SSEAYP Friends” with Dr Mohamad Maliki Osman.

Weaving ketupat casing is an art.  Malay mothers, during kampung days, did  pass on their skill to their children by even weaving the casing with colour ribbons for Hari Raya Aidil Fitri home decorations.  However, such ketupat decorations as well as woven ketupat casings can be bought, nay, even bunches of already-cooked ketupat are available on sale, especially at Hari Raya Bazaars.

Eid Mubarak and Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri (Eid ul-Fitr) to all Muslims.

Shaik Kadir

14 June 2018

(Photo credit:  While most of the photos were taken by the writer, three of them were contributed by Mr Yacob Hussain with thanks.)

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Singapore mosques hold Khatam Qur’an as Ramadan ends

Singapore mosques hold Khatam Qur’an as Ramadhan ends

The World Qur’an Hour is a day during which Islamic institutions and mosques in Muslim communities in a number of countries hold Qur’an reading for an hour on a day in Ramadhan to encourage Muslims to read the Qur’an, understand it and apply its instructions in their daily lives to be good practising Muslims.  Singapore held Qur’an Hour recently in Ramadhan.

A Qur’an app can be downloaded for easy reading of the Qur’an at any convenient time. The “Qur’an Hour” poster at Kassim Mosque, Changi Road, says: “Reading Chapter At-Hujurat – The day when mosques in Singapore reverberate with the reading of the Qur’an”.

Qur’an Reading Hour at Khadijah Mosque, Geylang Road.

The Qur’an is so important in the life of a Muslim that children as young as three have been taught to learn the Qur’anic Arabic alphabet and recite the shorter chapters of the Qur’an. Photo above, left, shows my 9-year-old daughter Munirah Bte Shaik Kadir (now Dr Munirah, PhD, and is married), reciting  the short chapters of the Qur’an at a Children’s Qur’an reading contest (primer stage). The other photo shows my 4-year-old granddaughter, the daughter of my son, Nur Iffah Bte Muhammad Imran, showing off her Certificate of Completion of five short chapters: Al-Fil, Al-Masad, Al-Khautar, Al-Maun and Al-Qadr.

But, way before the introduction of the Qur’an Day, actually since the Qur’an, the Holy Book of Islam, came into existence from the time of Prophet Muhammad, a session called Tadarrus Al-Qur’an (gathering for Qur’an reading) was held in the mosques every night in Ramadan, usually after the terawih prayer (special prayer performed only in Ramadan nights) till the whole Qur’an is completed on a final session called Khatam Qur’an (completion of reading the Qur’an).

Many, especially those who are unable to attend the Tadarrus in the mosque, might also read the Qur’an at home in their spare time as the Qur’an is always available in every Muslim home. (The Qur’an is called the Qur’an only if it is in its original Arabic.  Translations in Malay, English or any other languages are not called the Qur’an but translations or interpretations of the Qur’an.)

Ramadhan is so special to Muslims because it is not only the fasting month when Muslims throughout the world perform total fasting – no food and not even a sip of water – from dawn to dusk, but also because the month is when the Qur’an was first revealed to Prophet Muhammad – on 17 Ramadan, beginning with five verses as shown below.

These verses of Chapter 96 called “Read!” are the first five verses Prophet Muhammad received from God (Allah) through Angel Gabriel and the Revelations went on for 23 years till the Qur’an became completed, with the religion for mankind named as “Islam” as mentioned in the Qur’an itself.

The Qur’an has 114 chapters divided into 30 Jus (sections). For the daily Ramadhan Tadarrus Al-Qur’an session, the Qur’an is often read in a group led by a leader, often reading one jus a night, or two jus where the chapters are short. In the final reading for the Khatam, the group would read the last ten chapters of the Qur’an where the chapters are shorter – for instance, each of the last three chapters comprises not more than six short verses:  Chapter 112 (Ikhlas or Purity) – 4 verses; Chapter 113 (Falaq or The Dawn) – 5 verses, and Chapter 114 (Nas or Mankind) – 6 verses.

I attended a Khatam Qur’an session at the Al-Taqua Mosque last night – 27 Ramadhan coinciding with 12 June 2018. The following are the photos taken at Masjid Al-Taqua.

At the Khatam Qur’an session at Al-Taqua Mosque, Jalan Bilal:  The Qur’an reading leader, right, leading the session is shown on the TV monitors for all in the mosque to watch and read together.

The other lead readers facing the audience, some of them are young people apt in reciting the Qur’an.

A section of the audience. The women are in an adjacent hall.

Eid ul-Fitr (Celebration Day of Charity) or commonly called in Malay as Aidil Fitri is on 1 Syawal (10th month of the Islamic or Hijra calendar) and it falls on 15 June in Singapore and in neighbouring countries.

Eid Mubarrak and Selamat Hari Raya Aidil Fitri (Eid ul-Fitr) to all Muslims.

Shaik Kadir

13 June 2018

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Eh!  She did all the hard work and I got the name! 

Eh!  She did all the hard work and I got the name! 

I do not know if any Malay Muslim lady had ever got her name mangled into a rojak (food that has a mixture of various fruits and raw vegetables).  My daughter had. Her name is Munirah Binte Shaik Kadir and her name had been, from time to time, strangely moulded, even, horribly mauled.

Irritated, way back in 2007, I wrote an info-edu piece, “Clearing up confusion over Muslim names“, which was published not as a letter in the “Forum” page of The Straits Times but an essay in the “Review” section of the newspaper (26 May 2007).

Straits Times article

Munirah’s father, exasperated at the variance in his and Munirah’s names wrote an  article in Review/The Straits Times, 26 May 2007.

In the first five paragraphs of the article I wrote:

“Recently, I received a letter from an insurance company. It left me exasperated. Why? Because the company somehow managed to mangle my name beyond recognition.

My full name is Shaik Kadir Bin Shaik Maideen. This means my personal name is Shaik Kadir, and I can be called Shaik or Kadir. Bin means “son of”. Shaik Maideen is my father’s name.

Such a pattern in a Muslim’s full name is very common in Singapore and Malaysia. Nevertheless, in the letter the insurance company sent me, it somehow managed to address me as “Shaik Maideen Shaik Kadir Bin”.

A few days after this letter arrived, my daughter received a letter from a well-known Singapore company. She was addressed as “Kadir Binte Munirah Shaik”. Binte means “daughter of”.  (In other words, the company, with abracadabra, has transformed my daughter, Munirah, into me, a man, who is the daughter of Munirah, herself! Confused? Well, blame the computer, the company would say.)

It is strange that even large, well-known companies in Singapore are unable to correctly write Muslim names. So allow me to try to explain how it goes.”

In another 17 paragraphs I explained “how they (Malay Muslim names) are written and what they mean”. As the sub-head of the newspaper article says:  “Names matter a lot to Muslims, so here’s a primer on how they are written and what they mean”. (The whole article is reproduced in the “Notes” at the end of this blog article.)

Well, but for now, let me talk about my name again which had gone into many mouldings like “Shaik Maideen Shaik Kadir Bin” and “Bin Shaik Maideen Shaik Kadir” and how I got the doctorate title.

My daughter, Munirah, who was a former Physics and Mathematics secondary school teacher went on to pursue her full-time 4-year doctorate program in a university in Sydney, Australia. Before going abroad for her studies, she had married an American in Singapore. A year later, (while studying in Sydney) she became pregnant and four months into her pregnancy, she and her husband came back to Singapore to be with my wife and me, and soon, a few months later, Munirah gave birth to Adam Rayan Dula. A year later, she went back to Sydney and restarted her studies from year one, with an additional member in the family. Credit must go to Munirah’s husband, Allen Dula, for taking care of their son when Munirah was on campus five days a week.

As a final-year PhD candidate, Munirah, who has had experiences in making conference presentations in Hong Kong and Helsinki, Finland, and was once attached to University of Washington, USA, presented “Analyzing the Effects of Managing Element Interactivity in Science Learning” at the International Conference in Florence, Italy, themed New Perspectives in Science Education, in February last year (2017).

Munirah’s Husband, Allen and their son, Adam Rayan, accompanied Munirah for the conference in Florence and even visited Rome for sightseeing.

Patience and hard work

Then, after four long years of being a wife, mother and student, her patience and hard work paid off. Her graduation ceremony was held on 10 May this year (2018) with her husband and son attending the grand function in which Munirah was the only person to be conferred a PhD amongst hundreds of candidates from Masters and Bachelors programs.

Munirah described her graduation ceremony as “very special” and different from her Bachelor’s and Master’s graduation ceremonies in Singapore. As a PhD graduand, Munirah got to be a part of the academic procession with the chancellors, mace bearer and others. And, instead of sitting in the audience, she was seated on stage with the academic processional gathering throughout the graduation ceremony.

“I am the first person to be conferred in the ceremony. Dr Stephen Weller, the Chief Operating Officer & Deputy Vice-Chancellor read out a brief of my thesis to the audience. Then, I walked up to Professor Margot Hillel, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), who happily congratulated me and presented my PhD certificate,” Munirah said.

Munirah receiving her PhD Certificate from Professor Margot Hillel, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic).

Remembering her professors

Dr Munirah flanked by her Supervisors, Prof Alexander Yeung and Prof Richard Ryan.

Dr Munirah flanked by Dr Stephen Weller and Prof Margot Hillel, and, in the photo on the right, with Prof Michelle Cambell, Faculty Dean.

Munirah’s friend, Dr Alicia Franklin, congratulating Munirah with a card made by her. And husband Allen and 4-year-old son Adam are proud to be with the newly conferred “Dr Munirah”.

I couple of days later, my daughter received an official letter addressed as “Dr”, the honourable title for which she had been working hard all these years. The letter began: “Dear Dr Kadir”.

Munirah WhatsApped to congratulate me: “In all official documents now, I’m known as Dr Kadir.  Abah, you are so popular here!”

Wow! That’s news!  She did all the hard work and I got the title!  I rest my case.

Shaik Kadir
8 May 2018

Note:  The full article:

Clearing up confusion over Muslim names

Names matter a lot
to Muslims, so here’s
a primer on how they
are written and
what they mean

By Shaik Kadir Bin Shaik Maideen
For the Straits Times, Review, Saturday, May 26 2007

Recently, I received a letter from an insurance company. It left me exasperated. Why? Because the company somehow managed to mangle my name beyond recognition.

My full name is Shaik Kadir Bin Shaik Maideen. This means my personal name is Shaik Kadir, and I can be called Shaik or Kadir. Bin means “son of”. Shaik Maideen is my father’s name.

Such a pattern in a Muslim’s full name is very common in Singapore and Malaysia. Nevertheless, in the letter the insurance company sent me, it somehow managed to address me as “Shaik Maideen Shaik Kadir Bin”.

A few days after this letter arrive, my daughter received a letter from a well-known Singapore company. She was addressed as “Kadir Binte Munirah Shaik”. Binte means “daughter of”.

It is strange that even large, well-known companies in Singapore are unable to correctly write Muslim names. So allow me to try to explain how it goes.

I will begin with some common names that should be familiar to people in Singapore.

First, there are Muslim names that are similar to Christian names. This arises because Islam, Christianity and Judaism are all Semitic religions. Historically, they come from the same religious line, from Prophet Abraham.

Of these names, many Muslim ones have small spelling variations to those of Christian names, like Ishak for Isaac and Yusof for Joseph; and Mariam for Mary and Supiah for Sophia.

Some Muslim names, in fact, are exactly the same as Christian names: for example, Adam, Benjamin, Martin and Daniel, for men; Alicia, Sarah and Sharon, in the case of women.

In addition, with some female names an “h” may be added to the end of the name, like Dianah for Diana, Ameliah for Amelia and Sabrinah for Sabrina.

Next, many male Muslims are named after prophets, like Musa (after Prophet Moses) , Ibrahim(after Prophet Abraham) and Dawood (after Prophet David).

Other male names take after the attributes of God, like Rahman which means “the merciful”. Hence, Abdul, which means “servant of”, is added to the name. Thus, Abdul Rahman means “Servant of the Merciful”.

It is strange that even large, well-known companies in Singapore are unable to correctly write Muslim names. So allow me to try to explain how it goes.

It is strange that even
large, well-known
companies in
Singapore are unable to
correctly write
Muslim names

Nur or Noor is a popular forename. It means “guidance” or “light” in Arabic. Thus, Noor Muhammad (a male name) means “Guidance or Light of (Prophet) Muhammad” and Nur Ain Saleha (a female name) means “Light of the eyes of a pious personality”.

When a man converts to Islam, it may be necessary for him to adopt a Muslim name. This is just for official documentation purposes. For instance, only Muslims are allowed into Mecca. Therefore, an official document is required to show that a person intending to enter Mecca is a Muslim.

An official conversion document also is important in a multi-religious country like Malaysia, where the official religion is Islam. Burial problems may arise, as has happened there, if the Muslim convert left no “convert certificate” when he died.

In Malaysia and Singapore, it is common practice for a convert to Islam to take a Muslim name with Abdullah (meaning “servant of Allah.”) added to his name. Some converts use their Muslim names and their original names separately, while other use their Muslim names together with their surnames. Islam does not object to this practice.

A few examples of names of converts (taken from various issues of The Muslim Reader, a periodical of The Muslim Converts’ Association of Singapore) are: Norashikin Abdullah alias Lim Ai Lin, Murliani Abdullah alias Janet See Kim Gek, Mazlan Abdullah Soh, Siti Aminah Han and Adam Abdullah Brown (the last three persons retained their Chinese or Western surnames).

Married Muslim women are encouraged to use their maiden names instead of taking their husbands’ names instead of taking their husbands’ names. This is a right given to Muslim women by Islam. Thus, if Miss Faridah Binte Ali marries Mr Jamil Bin Ahmad, she might not prefer to be addressed as Mrs Jamil or Mrs Faridah Jamil or even Mrs Jamil-Faridah Ali. She might prefer her maiden name: Madam Faridah Ali or Ms Faridah Ali.

Names of Muslims are often taken from the Quran. Islam advises Muslim parents to give their children meaningful names (and, of course, to bring them up honourably). Names that are distasteful to Islam are out. For example, Ah Kow, which means “dog” in a Chinese dialect, may not be retained by a Chinese man with such a name when he becomes a Muslim. Cat Stevens, the British pop idol of the1960s, when he embraced Islam, adopted the name, Yusuf Islam without retaining his former name, Cat.

The all-time boxing great, Muhammad Ali, dropped his former name, Cassius Clay, altogether. The well-known author of Islamic books, Margaret Marcus, became Maryam Jamilah. A convert is free to adopt any meaningful Islamic name of his or her choice.

Lastly, Islam disallows calling a person by a nickname.

So, as personal names matter a great deal to Muslims, it would be excellent customer service and a good public relations endeavour for companies to pay some attention to their names of their Muslim customers, clients and staff.

The writer is a senior lecturer at ITE College Central (MacPherson Campus) and author of Inside Islam: 101 Questions And Answers.

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Qur’an reading: Capturing the Qur’anic spirit for better living

World Qur’an Hour

Qur’an reading: Capturing the Qur’anic spirit for better living

The Qur’an is the greatest blessing that God – “Allah” in Islam – has been given to Muslims. This Islamic Holy Book ensures that, by following its guidance, the lives of Muslims remain guided and organised. God says: “Indeed, this Qur’an guides to that which is most suitable and gives good tidings to the believers who do righteous deeds that they will have a great reward.” (Qur’an, Chapter 17, Verse 9)

A copy of the Qur’an can easily be bought from a Muslim bookshop or acquired from a Muslim religious organisation. In fact, most Muslim homes at least has one copy.

 The Qur’an, left (within red boundary), shows the 7-verse first chapter of the Qur’an, called “Al-Fatiha” (The opening Chapter) on the Qur’an’s right-hand page, and, on the left-hand page, the start of the 286-verse second chapter, called “Baqara: (The Heifer). The photo on the right (within blue frame) is strictly not called the Qur’an as it does not contain the Arabic text only but also its translation and commentary in English, hence it’s called “The meaning of the Holy Qur’an – text, translation and commentary”, a splendid job by the well-known scholar, Abdullah Yusuf Ali from India who excelled in English at Oxford University.

A copy of the Qur’an can easily be bought from a Muslim bookshop or acquired from a Muslim religious organisation. In fact, most Muslim homes have at least one copy.

Friday prayer sermon

In this regard the sermon (kuthbah) of the Friday prayer of 1 June 2018 amplified on the importance of reading the Qur’an and applying the guidance given in it for comprehensive living.

The sermon posed several questions, such as: How is your relationship with the Quran? Do you recite it often? Do you reflect upon its verses and strive to enliven Allah’s commands? Are we among those who adhere to the Qur’an and strive to emulate its teachings? Do we take steps that we can pursue in order to further strengthen our relationship with the Qur’an?

The sermon points out it is important that Muslims, if they have done so, take “small steps to study and understand the verses of the Qur’an.”

To this effect, an interesting event, held to capture the spirit of the Qur’an in Ramadan, called the “World Qur’an Hour” is here again in Singapore. This event is also held in other Muslim communities all over the world in Ramadan.

Qur’an Hour:  Reading the Qur’an in groups at Aliman Mosque.

Qur’an Hour:  Reading the Qur’an at Istiqamah Mosque.

Qur’an Hour:  Reading the Qur’an at Mydin Mosque. (Those with knee problems sit on stools available in the mosque.)

All mosques in Singapore held the World Qur’an Hour on 2 June to coincide with 17 Ramadan (day of the first Qur’anic Revelation received by Prophet Muhammad, Peace be upon him).

The event aims at inspiring the ummah or the Muslim community worldwide to interact with the Qur’an by reciting, understanding and applying the knowledge and wisdom it offers so as to instil Qur’anic values in them, build correct Islamic character and make a difference in the way they live.

At Kassim Mosque: The Friday prayers sermon on 1 June (2018), in mentioning Muslims can also easily read the Qur’an from the handphone, expounds: “The advancement of technology today has made the Qur’an more accessible. We can even browse the Qur’an through our mobile phones. Hence, let us not deprive the Qur’an of its role in our lives. If we are constantly busying ourselves with smartphone applications to ease our daily affairs, should we not find time to utilise a Qur’anic application to better understand the Qur’an’s contents and the explanation and interpretation (tafsir)? If we are able to spend hours surfing the Internet, would it not be better that we set aside some time to ponder upon the verses of the Qur’an?”

In Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, last year (2017):  World Qur’an Hour aims at encouraging reading, understanding and practising the Qur’an. It also aims at guiding people to foster happy and compassionate living.

As the Qur’an is so important in a Muslim’s life, let me in this article, mention a few aspects of the Qur’an to serve as a motivator to Muslims to read and study the Qur’an to benefit from it in their lives.

First of all, the Qur’an, in its entirety, is God’s Words. That means, the Qur’an was not written by Prophet Muhammad, Peace be upon him, because he was never schooled and so was unlettered. The Qur’an was also not written decades after his death by any person or persons.

What happened was, the Qur’an was recorded verbatim as and when its verses were revealed to Prophet Muhammad by God through Angel Gabriel (Jibrail) over 23 years. This book is called “Qur’an” (Book of Recitation or Reading), a name mentioned in the Qur’an itself in a number of verses.

The first Revelation, containing just five verses, was received by the Prophet in the Cave of Hira on 17 Ramadan. These first five verses, appearing in Chapter 96, called “Iqraa” (Recitation or Read!), are shown in the following slide

This Islamic date, 17 Ramadan, is known as Nuzul Al-Qur’an, the celebration of the day of the beginning of the Revelation of the Qur’an. And Muslims would read the Qur’an in groups or in one large group, especially in the mosque, in celebration of the start of the Qur’an. The “Qur’an Hour” event neatly falls into this annual Qur’an reading practice.

The Qur’an reading practice is not held on just one day or one hour in a year, but for about one hour each night of Ramadan, after the terawih (Ramadan night-time) prayer in a session called “tadarus al-Qur’an” (Qur’an recital) until “khatam” (completion of the whole Qur’an), a few days before Ramadan ends.

The Qur’an says that it is for all mankind. It contains not only religious guidance but also a wide spectrum of subject matter with themes on social behaviour and the sciences to history and reasoning, all interwoven with the central theme of Tawhid or Oneness of God (Allah): “There is no god but Allah”.

Uniqueness of the Qur’an

The features of the Qur’an are unique in many ways, a few of them are as follows:
• The Qur’an came in Arabic and exists in Arabic, the original language as spoken by Prophet Muhammad himself. Arabic is a living language, one that is widely spoken and written right to this day.

• The entire Qur’an was recorded in writing as instructed by the Prophet in his presence. It was also seen and recited by Prophet Muhammad himself as a means of approving its entire contents and coverage.

• The Qur’an’s text over 114 chapters remains entirely intact and reliable. It has not been altered, edited, or tampered with since the time it was revealed more than 1400 years ago.

• The entire Qur’an was recorded by scribes in the presence of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) as and went the verses were revealed to him by God. The Prophet then asked the scribe to read what he had recorded to ascertain accuracy and then keep the recorded verses after his Companions and others had memorised the verses as instructed by him. Thus, the Qur’an has been preserved from the start in two ways – by always reading the whole Book in Ramadan and at other time of the year as well as by memorisation. (Those who have memorised the whole Qur’an are called Hafiz, people who might have graduated in Hafiz-training schools.)

• The Qur’an’s chapters have been memorised by generation after generation of Muslims right from the time they were delivered by Prophet Muhammad. Also, the entire Qur’an is memorised by millions of Muslims right to this day through an unbroken chain of reciters from day one, so much so, as someone said, if all the copies of the Qur’an in the world were to disappear mysteriously, exact copies of the Qur’an could be produced overnight from the recitation of these people.

• The Qur’an comprised verses as received from God, not in a narration form as any writer, professional or not, would write; not in a continual development style like a story book but the verses in the Qur’an are all instructions, guidance, advices, mention of previous prophets and what happened to them, and so on.

• The Qur’an is called the Qur’an only when it is in Arabic, the original language by which it was revealed to Prophet Muhammad and recorded in print and available to anyone. If a translation is totally in English or in any other language than Arabic, that volume is not the Qur’an but a translation or interpretation. Hence, all those verses quoted in the non-Arabic language, strictly speaking, are not Words of Allah but words of the various writers, though for ease of communication, Muslim writers, might use such indicators as “The Qur’an says” and “Allah says”.

Great opportunity

With such a unique and comprehensive Holy Book right in their hands, the Muslim ought to take this great opportunity to read the Qur’an and gain from the wisdom it offers.  God tells Prophet Muhammad, Peace be upon him: “[This is] a blessed Book which We have revealed to you, [O Muhammad], that they (people) might reflect upon its verses and that those of understanding would be reminded.” (Qur’an, Chapter 38: Verse 29)

God also says: “The month of Ramadhan (is when) the Qur’an was revealed, as a guide to humankind, and clear signs for guidance and judgement.” (Qur’an, Chapter 2: Verse 185)

The 1-June Friday prayer sermon urges Muslims: “In this blessed month of Ramadan, let us reflect upon the verses of the Qur’an,” and be guided.

Shaik Kadir
3 June 2018

(1) The whole Friday prayer sermon (kuthbah) of 1 June 2018, prepared by Muis, is available on Muis’ website:

(2) Photo credit for current article: Apart from the writer’s own photos and one taken from the internet, credit goes to Mr Abdul Karim Aludeen, Mr Abdul Halim Amin and Ms Mukminah Abdul Razak for their photo contributions.

(3) The writer’s other articles on the World Qur’an Hour lin the last two years can be accessed in this blog:

(a) 17 June 2017: “’Quran Hour’ gains huge success”:

(b) 8 June 2017: “Qur’an Hour: Let’s read Al-Quran together this Sunday, 5 – 6 pm”:

(c) 16 Sep 2016: “World Qur’an Hour- Enhancing Islamic spirituality and togetherness”:

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East Coast Ramadan Night:  Togetherness and bonding in iftar and solat

East Coast Ramadan Night:  Togetherness and bonding in iftar and solat

More than 300 multi-racial, multi-religious residents from the East Coast GRC  (Group Representation Constituency  of Bedok, Changi Simei, Kampong Chai Chee and Siglap) had three-hours of interaction as they made salad designs and ate nasi ambeng at an iftar gathering last Sunday evening dubbed “East Coast GRC Iftar 2018”.

The breaking of the Ramadan fast or iftar function was held at the Changi Simei Community Club on Sunday, 27 May.

Organised by the East Coast GRC, the event carried the theme “Let’s stay healthy together”. It was held from 5 pm to 8 pm starting with a salad-designing competition and short welcoming speeches by each of the four Members of Parliament who were the Host Advisers of the function.

Grassroots Advisers and Members of Parliament (MP) (from left) Mr Lim Swee Say, Ms Jessica Tan Soon Neo, Dr Mohamad Maliki Bin Osman who is also the Senior Minister of State for Defence and Foreign Affairs, and Mr Lee Yi Shyan, taking turns to address the audience.

The Singapore multi-racial, multi-religious participants of “East Coast GRC Iftar 2018” listening to their MPs.

Salad designing contest

Participants of the Salad-making contest putting their best creative talents over the what were supplied – cucumber, winter melon, grapes, apples and shredded carrot.

The function aims at spreading joy to the needy Muslim and non-Muslim residents and to promote understanding of religious and cultural knowledge among the various races of Singapore as well as to understand the importance of eating healthy food to fight against diabetes.

Sound of azan

Many of the non-Muslim attendees wondered why the Muslims were not eating when the food was already served and placed on the table after the salad competition ended. But soon they learned that the Muslims have to follow a strict disciplinary rule – not eating until the arrival of the breaking fast time.

In Singapore, the breaking of fast time can be read from an Islamic calendar or heard over radio (Malay station) or in person for the maghrib prayer, the just-after dusk or the fourth prayer out of the five prayers of the day.

Soon, an ustaz (religious teacher) went to the microphone and made the azan (prayer call) and the Muslims started to break the fast, usually by first eating one or two dates, the fruit that gives a lots of energy, which has also been served. The rice (nasi ambeng), mixed brown and white rice – usually white rice only – plus lots of three types of vegetables and chicken were served in a big plate for the ten people to a table to relish.

A big sharing plate of nasi ambeng with plenty of raw various vegetables as well as begedel (fried meshed potato lumps) and chicken was served for the iftar: Soon, at exactly 7:09 pm, the azan (prayer call) was made that signalled the breaking of the dawn to dusk Islamic fasting.

While eating, photos were taken with Mr Lim Swee Say, MP for East Coast GRC.

Many Muslims, after eating the dates and drinking some mineral water left their tables without disturbing the other diners to perform their maghrib prayer. Two adjacent rooms, one for men and the other for ladies, were made available for the prayer. Shortly they returned to relish on their iftar meal.

Salad designing results

The results of the salad-making completion were announced, and the following were the winners: Bedok (first), Kampong Chai Chee (second), Changi Simei (third) and Siglap (fourth).

Four of the five creations. I fifth, which won the fourth prize, is my favourite.

The fourth prize and the team (from Table 30) that created it. The title and the significance of their creation is: “The bird: Like the flying bird, we have the energy to do work even though we are fasting”.

Iftar gifts

After iftar, Dr Maliki Osman and the other MPs distributed bags of goodies to every participant.

A few questions regarding Islamic practices were posed and answered by an ustaz for knowledge sharing with the non-Muslim participants. Two of the questions related to mosques and prayers are:

(1)  Why is that more Muslims are at the mosques in Ramadan?

Mosques are crowded in Ramadan because of the following four main reasons:
     (a)  In Islam, congregational prayers build bonds and also there is more merit or spiritual rewards in praying in congregation than alone at home unless his family members desire him to lead the prayer,
     (b)  Bubur or spiced rice porridge is distributed free at about 5 pm, after the asar prayer (the late afternoon and third obligatory prayer of the day),
     (c)  The iftar or breaking of the Ramadan fast is held for any Muslim to break their fast when the azan (prayer call) for the maghrib is made. This happens at around 7 pm. and
     (d)  The performance of terawih prayers, the long night-time prayer after the obligatory isyak prayer, starting at around 8:45 pm.

(2) What is terawih prayers?

Terawih (or solat terawih) is a prayer performed only in Ramadan. It is a night prayer performed after the fifth and last obligatory prayer of the day, the isyak prayer which consists of four rakaats (units). The terawih prayer is a long prayer consisting of eight or 20 rakaats (units) plus three additional ones which can be performed in the mosque, in any available clean and quiet space like in the void deck of an apartment block or at home.

Unlike the daily five prayers which are obligatory, the terawih prayers are not compulsory but spiritually beneficial to perform as advised and performed by Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) himself.


Terawih with Dr Maliki

At the end of the “East Coast GRC Iftar 2018” function, some of attendees, including Dr Maliki Osman, went to perform the isyak and terawih prayers at the void deck of a close-by HDB block, Block 116 Simei Street. This void deck has been used as a terawih prayer place for many years throughout Ramadan.

Terawih at Block 116 Simei Street where some of those attendees at the iftar function went for their terawih.

Ramadan porridge, commonly called “bubur masjid”, as distributed in all mosques and other places, is also distributed at this void deck for the neighbourhood residents to collect for breaking their fast.

The terawih at this void deck ended at 9:30 pm.

A doa after the salam with the imam of the terawih prayer: Among those who came for the terawih after their iftar at the Changi Simei Community Club was Dr Maliki Osman.

Dr Maliki’s schedule

Dr Maliki will perform the isyak and terawih prayers on the following Ramadan nights and venues:
1)  Tonight, 29 May):  Al-Taqua Mosque, Jalan Bilal (See photo below taken after the terawih in this mosque.)

At Masjid Al-Taqua on Tuesday,  29 May night: After the terawih prayer, Dr Maliki (in red and black attire with black songkok)  and three of us, Mr Yacob Hussain (in orange baju kurung), Mr Najib Ahmad (in black jubah) and I (in red baju kurung) had a little chat at the mosque’s officials at the reception room for a little chat over some snacks which nobody could eat any more after our iftar at our respective homes before coming to the mosque for the isyak and terawih prayers. The smaller photo, taken after our short meeting with the mosque officials, shows Mr Yacob’s and Najib’s family members who were at the ladies’ prayer hall.

2)  Sunday, 3 June:      Blk 107 Bedok North Road
3)  Friday, 8 June:        Blk 775A Multi-purpose Hall, Bedok Reservoir View
4)  Sunday, 10 June:    Al-Ansar Mosque, Jalan Bilal

Ramadan will soon end and non-Muslims might visit their Muslim friends on Hari Aidil Fitri. One of the questions asked at the iftar event earlier was: Can non-Muslims greet their Muslim friends with the phrase “Happy New Year” on Hari Raya?

Correct term

Hari Raya is celebrated on 1 Syawal of the Islamic calendar, that is, the day after the last day of Ramadan. Syawal is the tenth month of the Muslim calendar, not the first. The Muslim New Year is three months later, on 1 Muharram.

The first day of Syawal, called Eid ul-Fitr (Celebration of Charity) or Aidil-Fitri in Malay, is a special day to celebrate the victory of having attained a month of total day-time fasting – no food, no drink, no smoking, no making love with the spouse but doing heightened righteousness like performing extra voluntary prayers, giving charity and helping the poor.

So, non-Muslims, just as Singapore Muslims do when meeting their relatives and friends, should instead greet their Muslim friends with the greeting “Selamat Hari Raya” or “Selamat Hari Raya Aidil-Fitri” or “Eid Mubarak” (Have a blessed Eid).

Have a blessed Ramadan.
Ramadan Mubarak.

Shaik Kadir
29 May 2018 (Inserted photo taken at the Al-Taqua Mosque on 30 May) 
(Photo credits: Some of the photos in this article were contributed by Mr Najib Ahmad, Ms Suryani Nasiruddin, Ms Noorliah Hawdi and Ms Sri Zuraida.)

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Part 3 SIGA 2018: A get-together to contribute, learn and share aspirations and experiences

Part 3

SIGA 2018: A get-together to contribute, learn and share aspirations and experiences

Delegates from Asean nations and Japan met at the 30th SSEAYP International General Assembly (SIGA) 2018 held in Bandung, Indonesia, from 20 – 22 April.

Singapore’s contingent of 49 people, comprising former SSEAYP Participating Youths and National Leaders, officials from the SSEAYP International Singapore, SSEAYP Alumni and foster families of the Ship for Southeast Asian Youth Programme (SSEAYP), are among the 230 delegates.

The theme of this year’s assembly, “In the spirit of art, heritage and youthpreneurship”, offered lively panel and group discussions as well as workshops on the three aspects of the theme.

History is always interesting and what has been solidly left of history could be a heritage to be cherished. Groups were formed to go on a heritage trail to discover Bandung’s Dutch colonial past.

In fulfilling a final activity on the art, the closing ceremony of SIGA 2018 was held at the Saung Angklung Udjo, a learning and performance studio with the objective of preserving Sundanese art and culture, especially angklung.

Delegates were entertained by its angklung and Sundanese gamelan orchestra accompanied by thrilling traditional dance performances by children.

After the closing ceremony speech and exchange of gifts, the evening ended with the visitors joining in a farewell dance with the young dancers and angklung players.

Walking into history

Prof Dr Faisal Abdullah, Deputy Minister for Youth Empowerment, who opened the assembly, mentioned in his speech that “Bandung was chosen as the host city of SIGA 2018 due to its notable commitment in youth participation,” and that “Bandung has a remarkable history as the venue of the Asian-African Conference in 1955.”

Bandung also has buildings built during the Dutch colonial period which have been well preserved. By walking and observing, the visitors would understand why Bandung city is also well-known as the world’s largest exhibitor of art deco architecture.

Heritage Walk: SIGA participants were divided into a number of teams for before starting on the trail to learn from observation.

Group 5 is ready to go on the heritage trail…

At the auditorium of the Asian-African Conference Museum.

Confrontation with the bad and evil along the heritage trail…

Note-taking, observing and admiring the old Dutch buildings and all…

Friendship and respect

Mr Rahim Bin Ramli and his mother, Mdm Fatimah, have been hosting SSEAYP Participating Youths for many years.

There were various activities lined up for the SIGA delegates. We were divided into many groups to enable us foster new friendship with the others.

One of the activities that I enjoyed and learned most was the Bandung Historical Walk under the Heritage Activitity – walking along Braga Street in the old Dutch colonial part of the town. The remnants of the Dutch existence in Indonesia were evidently from the Dutch-style buildings and such a sight left a strong historical memory in me.

Throughout our stay there, I discovered that regardless of our different, nationalities, cultures and religions, we could actually co-exist very well as we learned to respect one another.

When it was time to leave, my mother and I were sad but, on the other hand, we were happy as we renewed old friendship and made many new friends.”

– Mr Rahim Bin Ramli who, with his mother Hajah Fatimah Binti Haji Shukor, has been hosting SSEAYP Participating Youths for the homestay programme for many years and has joined the SIGA trips several times.


Ms Aiko Saito, Program Coordinator from CENTERYE, Japan: “Through SIGA, I learned many things and made many friends.”

“This is my second time to join SIGA. It was great and I enjoyed it. I made many friends who were former SSEAYP Participating Youths and officials.

I was happy to see the delegates joining in the various meaningful activities together and share their feelings and knowledge and learn new things from each other.

SIGA gave us an opportunity to stay together, learn from each other about our countries, talk about ourselves and our experiences, and even joke and laugh together.  It is nice to participate in SIGA after SSEAYP.  I love both.

Through the workshops with youth entrepreneur activities, I felt the importance to move forward and to share with anyone what you love and contribute anything that is worthwhile.

I would love to encourage the youths to do anything they love to do that is good for the society and believe that what they contribute is of great worth. Their passion in what they do and contribute would be of value to people.

Through SiGA, I learned many things and made many friends, and this is very important and meaningful in life.”

– Aiko Saito, Program Coordinator from CENTERYE.  She was in-charge of taking care of the Japanese participants and taking official photos. She volunteered for SIGA 2018 “to meet her batch-mates and also to make new friends beyond my SSEAYP participating year.”


Angklung Night

The third and final night of SIGA 2018 – Bandung, was a night of activities, entertainment and fun.

The angklung snatched the focus of the evening. The angklung, made of a varying number of bamboo tubes attached to a bamboo frame, is a popular bamboo musical instrument of Indonesia.

The delegates, perhaps for the first time in their lives, had the experience of making and playing an angklong. Each of them was given a lop-sided angklong to complete its structure. And, after that, they used their completed bamboo musical instrument to play in an orchestral mode with the angklung conductor guiding them.

At the premises of Saung Angklung Udjo: Meeting up some delegates to bid farewell.

Anglung workshop: Delegates had the chance to make angklungs and try it later with the guidance of the angklung music conductor.

Did these two Singapore teams take the first and second places in angklung-making? And, indeed it was nice to take a photo with the angklung music conductor.

SIGA 2018 closed with a lively angklung and dance performances by children.


SIGA 2018 (Bandung) appreciates the presence of dignitaries during the 3-day meeting. They include Vice Minister of Policy Coordination of Japan, Mr. Noriyuki Koda; Director for International Youth Exchange of Japan, Ms. Kaori Nakamura; President of SSEAYP International Indonesia (SII), Ms. Pia Adiprima; Head of Assembly of SII, Dr.Rino Wicaksono; and representatives of Japan and ASEAN embassies in Indonesia.

At the closing ceremony of SIGA 2018, Mdm Khairon and Mr Kadir were joyfully surprised to receive a trophy “SSEAPY Best Host Family Award” from Ms Yulia Indahri, an Indonesian delegate whom the couple had been exchanging greetings and short chats since the first day of SIGA 2018 meeting. Yulia, who was a Participating Youth of 1992 had stayed in their home for that year’s SSEAYP Homestay stint.

From foster daughter, Ms Yulia Indahri, to her Singapore foster parents, an appreciation personal gift – SSEAYP Best Host Family Award.

Remembering Yulia’s homestay 26 years ago: Yulia (white blouse) and Ms Nor Hairos C.Mat from Malaysia at the home of foster-parents Mdm Khairon and Mr Kadir during the homestay program of SSEAYP 1992. (Also see photos of Yulia and Hairos in Part 1 of the SIGA 2018 article)

The 30th SIGA in Bandung had been a wonderful and fruitful experience for all the delegates. They participated in discussing topics on art, heritage and youthpreneurship and celebrated the International Earth Day by doing social contribution activities in Cibunut Village. They explored Bandung by taking part in the Heritage Walk, participated in various workshops with young entrepreneurs and made angklung and played it with tunes that bade farewell to SIGA 2018 and its participants.

But, don’t be downhearted, the 31st SIGA is just next year – in Brunei Darussalam.


Holiday in Bandung

Most of the Singapore delegates had decided to stay for one more night in the same hotel to further enjoy Bandung and take what it could offer – in sightseeing and shopping. While many chose shopping as our SIGA programme was tight and hectic and there was no time for shopping, only five of us – Ms Jenny Koh, Mdm Khairon, Mr Desmond Yew, Mr Halim and Mr Kadir – decided to explore Bandung further. They went to a hotspring pond and then to the famous Tangkuban Parahu Mount.

Ms Jenny Koh and Mdm Khairon enjoying the sights of  hotspring park.

Well, after walking around you easily get tired, and indeed it is a good idea to have a relaxing hotspring message in the open while enjoying the fresh forest air at the same time.

A spectacular view of the magnificent Tangkuban Parahu crater.

A mosque is also nearby for Muslim visitors to perform their prayers.


Baby Kristin

In the photo presented in Part 2 of the SIGA 2018 article (published on 23 May in this blog), partially reproduced below showing Mr Desmond Yew, Homestay Director, SSEAYP International Singapore, forlornly clutching a bamboo post with the caption that read: “Mr Desmond Yew looks so forlorn; yes, he’s dreaming of his wife, Lynn, who was not able to join SIGA Bandung for a very good reason.” The “very good reason” then was that his wife, Lynn Ng, was eight-month pregnant. On 24 May, a month after Desmond returned from Bandung, his wife gave birth to a sweet baby girl, Kristin.

The Yew Family:  The cute and lovely Kristin flanked by her parents in hospital and her 7-year-old brother Kyler could not resist carrying the new arrival in the family. Congratulate Desmond and Lynn, and may your family be blessed with love and happiness always.

Links to Parts 1 and 2 are:

Part 1:

Part 2:

As we are still in Ramadan, we wish Ramadan Kareem to all Muslims and a blessed month to all. Insya-Allah (God willing), we shall meet again in Brunei Darussalam next year.

Shaik Kadir
27 May 2018

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Part 2 SIGA 2018: A gathering to unite and contribute for the betterment of humanity

Part 2

SIGA 2018: A gathering to unite and contribute for the betterment of humanity

Some 230 delegates from Asean nations and Japan spent a gainful time in social and economic activities at the SSEAYP International General Assembly (SIGA) 2018 in Bandung, Indonesia, from 20 to 22 April 2018.

Bandung, the capital city of West Java Province, is a well-known centre for learning and creativity.

The Singapore contingent, 49 in number, comprised former SSEAYP Participating Youths and National Leaders, officials from the SSEAYP International Singapore and foster families of SSEAYP or the Ship for Southeast Asian Youth Programme.

This year’s assembly, the 30th, carries the theme “In the spirit of art, heritage and youthpreneurship”. The theme offered lively panel and group discussions on the three aspects of the theme.

SIGA is held annually in Asean countries. In the last two years, SIGA was held in Cambodia (SIGA 2016) and in the Philippines (SIGA 2017).

This was my third participation in SIGA though my wife and I have been annually hosting the participants of the Ship for Southeast Asian Youth Programme (SSEAYP) for over 20 years since 1989.

SSEAYP Homestay:  My daughter, Munirah Shaik Kadir (centre), flanked by Shaliza Azlim from Malaysia (far left) and Mazrina Md Yusuf (from Brunei Darussalam) at my home in 1998; and departing from homestay with us is indeed sad and emotional with Kimie Endo (Japan) from SSEAYP 2003. Hugging her is my wife, Khairon.

“Part 1 – SIGA 2018: An assembly of wisdom, contribution, togetherness and fun”, published last week on 19 May in this blog, carried a number of photos that gave a glance of the delegates, divided into groups, participating in workshop discussions and presentations of their findings as well as their participation in youthpreneurship activities.


Khirul Ariffin at the Bakery Academy during Youthprenuership activity.

Khairul Ariffin, right, a delegate from Brunei Darussalam, whose comments were quoted in Part 1 of the article, emailed:  “I humbly appreciate the effort of featuring me in your blogspot. It is a rare moment. Please do not be hesitant in contacting me if you need any information that is related to Brunei. I would gladly help. Enjoy the rest of the Ramadhan, Sir!”

Another two delegates, after reading Part 1 of the article, observed:
(1) Thank you so much for the article. I’ve read the article and it sums up the activities we did back then. Salam, and have a great Ramadan.” – Fatimah Zakiyah, Indonesia.

(2) “It was a great article! The report would be a strong motivation for the readers who were former Participating Youths and officials to to join SIGA .” – Aiko Saito, Japan.

In this Part 2 segment of the article, photos of the participants taking part in out-door activities, like visits to a strawberry farm, Kawah Putih hot-spring lake and social contribution at Cibunut Village, are presented.

The following photos provide a glimpse of togetherness and fun the participants had when participating in the activities.

Strawberry farm

A group of 15 people, in the spiritual of discovering Bandung, went to a strawberry farm, Bambooberry, where they could pick, if they want to, as many strawberries as they desired, and purchase them by the kilogram.

At the Bambooberry strawberry farm, some decided to take a photo first. Well, while the others look happy to begin the strawberry picking in the farm in a while, Mr Desmond Yew looks so forlorn; yes, he’s dreaming of his wife, Lynn, who was not able to join SIGA Bandung for a very good reason.

Happy picking, eh, even eating to taste the strawberries fresh from the plants!

Why look so stern? Why not sing a Hindi song and chase each other in the farm.

Picked so little! Enough or not?

Kawah Putih

The Singapore delegates, during a “choice in the visit programme”, took the opportunity to go to Kawah Putih (White Crater) which features a large and beautiful lake of clouded turquoise mist. The group also explored the area and enjoyed the stunning view of the lake and tea plantations around them from the hanging rope bridge.

An appeal by the forests of Kawah Putih to save not only them but also all forests in the world.

A nice view of the lake and the surrounding from the mountain-edges and the hanging rope bridge.

Another stunning view of the lake from the hanging rope bridge and from the edge of the vapouring hot-spring lake.

It is nice to take photos in the Kawah Putih area, especially with the “sulphuric hot-spring” lake in the background.

Are they auditioning for a Bollywood (Hindi) movie with singing and dancing at the edges of the lake???

“Let’s take a group photo here, right at the edge of the hot-spring” someone suggested and nobody disagreed.

Cibunut Village

Cibunut Village or Cibunut Berwarna (Colourful Cibunut) is an environmentally-friendly village that aims to have zero-waste.  Indeed, the village has sections of villages houses painted in different colours like orange, green, blue and so on with their walls showing equally colourful eye-catching murals.

To this beautiful and unique village the SIGA Bandung went to assist the community to achieve their objective of managing waste and to contribute in some social activities like upcycling waste, cooking traditional dishes and managing the organic waste, door-to-door campaigning in waste management, making biopores (infiltration holes) and painting murals.


Ms Icu Surtini with some of the gifts for the children of Cibunut.

“I was mesmerised to see how excited the Cibunut residents were to welcome the SIGA 2018 Asean and Japan delegates to visit their village.

I learnt a lot from this community, especially in their dedication to create zero waste and eco-creative village. I cherish their strong bonding and togetherness in carrying out the waste management project.

Despite the language barrier, it is heart-warming to see the Cibunut people and the SIGA participants interacting very well.

I received positive feedback from SIGA participants that they enjoyed their time in Cibunut, a very colourful village. Also, from the Cibunut side, they were once worried about serving their best to the visitors, however, they could feel that they were well-accepted by the visitors and were very happy about it.

I love their hospitality and genuine heart to support SIGA. To bid goodbye after the activity in Cibunut was a melancholy moment for me. It reminded me of my SSEAYP homestay days. How I wished I could stay longer with them.

To see everybody worked together to make this event a success, is extremely rewarding to me.”
– Ms Icu Surtini Marwati, an Indonesian delegate in SIGA 2018 who was a Participating Youth of SSEAYP 2012 and Assistant Youth Leader of the Indonesian Contingent of that year. Currently she is the Director of Social Contribution Activities of SSEAYP International Indonesia. In SIGA 2018, Ms Icu presented their project, “Retype for Brighter Literacy”, which was dedicated to Indonesia’s blind and partially-blind fellow-Indonesians.


Ms Fatimah Az Zakiyah hopes that all Indonesians would keep Indonesia clean and green.

“Participating in the 30th SIGA Bandung was an unforgettable experience.

I am a first timer in SIGA and I realised that the activities were good and interesting for youths to gain knowledge and experiences.

The activities made us more confident about ourselves in promoting our ideas and countries to others. The friendship gained and knowing different cultures make the world a better place to live without any concerns about race, religion and culture.

The delegates were friendly, and the ambience of this event was good. It gave me confidence to talk to some of them from the Philippines, Japan, Brunei Darussalam and Singapore about Bandung. As a local citizen of Bandung, I was proud to tell Bandung’s history and arts.

What we did in Cibunut village under the social contribution activity was good. We advised the people not to throw their waste anywhere they liked but in proper rubbish bins which have been provided. We learned about Singapore’s experiences in making the country clean and green. I hope all Indonesians would join hands with other countries in such ‘keep clean and green’ projects.”
– Fatimah Az Zakiyah, a medical student at the Bandung Islamic University, who is a volunteer for the Cibunut Village visit during which she accompanied Ms Keeoudone from Laos and Mr Shaik Kadir from Singapore for the door-to-door waste management discussion. Being a native Sundanese, she translated English to Sundanese/Indonesian when Ms Keeoudone spoke while Mr Kadir spoke in Malay which was understood by the hosts.


Happy to have arrived at the Cibunut Village, also known as “Cibunut Berwarna” (Colourful Cibunut), to offer social contributions.

SIGA participants with children of the Cibunut community with Indonesian delegate Ms Icu Surtini Marwati handing over a box of gifts for the children to the village chief.



Mdm Khairon (far left) and Mr Joey Koh (far right) meeting up with Cibunut community’s children to offer them gifts.  SIGA participants, apart from giving the children gifts which they had brought with them, also in small groups together with the adult villagers made  a number of art and craft items like brooches and small handbags as well as  did some cooking.

Art and craft:  SIGA participants and Cibunut villagers involved in making items like bags and fancy dresses from recycled materials, including cloth, paper and plastics.

Waste management discussion at the home of a family in the Cibunut village.. The photo on the left shows (from left),  Singapore delegate Shaik Kadir , Indonesian Cibunut volunteer  Ms Fatimah Az Zakiyah, Laos delegate Ms Keeoudone, the husband and wife hosts and Ms Yati, another Cibunut volunteer.

Waste management discussion at another home in the Cibunut village, and then the foursome went to yet another home where snacks had been prepared for them.

The SIGA 2018 delegates had indeed enjoyed the activities prepared for them, and of course, made lots of friends along the way. However, there are still some more SIGA activities that have to be mentioned in this 3-part article, and that will be done in Part 3. Look out for it as it will be published soon in this blog.

Part 1 of the article on SIGA 2018 Bandung was published on 19 May. If you have missed it, here’s the link:

By the way, we are still in the holy month of Ramadan, so may I again wish all Muslim readers of this article “Ramadan Kareem” and may you continue performing your heightened worship, charity and righteousness and receive Allah’s blessings.

Shaik Kadir
23 May 2018

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