Iffah with her Japanese “kakaks”

Iffah with her Japanese “kakaks”

My wife and I have been volunteering our services by accommodating youths from ASEAN and Japan over 20 years now, since 1989, in various student-exchange and Singapore-exposure programmes, including the well-known Ship for South-east Asian Youth Programme (SSEAYP) for the homestay stint, usually for two nights at each visit and two participants of the same gender at each visit.

Over the last two years, since the time my wife and I took charge of my grand-daughter, Nur Iffah Muhammad Imran, when her parents, both teachers, are at work, Iffah has had the opportunity to meet with those participants who stayed at my home, all Japanese students. She calls them “Kakak” (Sister) in Malay.

In the extreme left photo, Ms Moemi Takei (left) and Ms Nao Kanda; in middle photo, Nur Iffah Muhammad Imran, and in the right photo, Ms Aoi Mori (left) and Ms Mikuru Mori.

The following 10 photos provide some idea of our interaction with our visitors, Ms Moemi Takei and Ms Nao Kanda (in the first 5 slides); and Ms Aoi Mori and Ms Mikuru Mori (in the second five slides).

WITH MOEMI AND NAO

Ms Moemi Takei  (extreme left) and Ms Nao Kanda trying out Malay dress. In the centre is the host and Iffah’s grandmother, Mdm Khairon Mastan. Other photos show Moemi and Nao taking Iffah out for a walk in the neighbourhood.

The last photo shows Moemi and Nao at home with the host family, Mdm Khairon and Mr Shaik Kadir.

WITH MIKURU AND AOI

Ms Aoi Mori (extreme right) and Ms Mikuru Mori with the host and Iffah’s grandmother, Mdm Khairon Mastan (centre). Other photos show Aoi and Mikuru taking Iffah out for a walk in the neighbourhood.

The last photo shows Aoi and Mikuru at home with the host family, Mdm Khairon and Mr Shaik Kadir.

Iffah loves to see their photos from my handphone, and this posting is the result with selective photos for her easy viewing, and sharing with all my Facebook friends.

Other articles with Japanese homestay themes are:

At this juncture, I must also say that some of the other SSEAYP/JENESYS participants who have had the homestay opportunity at my home and always contact me are Indira Tabo (Filipino), Hairos CM (Malaysian), Kaho Matsushita (Japanese), Michiko Akaboshi (Japanese), Miyu Taniguchi (Japanese), Rosnani Abd Rahman (Malaysian), Yulia Indahri (Indonesian) and Sakurako Tsutsumi (Japanese).

Shaik Kadir

15 March 2017

 

Posted in General interest (Wide-ranging) | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Islam rising in the Land of the Rising Sun

h1-japan-pix

Islam rising

in the

Land of the Rising Sun

Just very recently, a group comprising Muslims and people of other races and religions in a chat platform received a posting that makes claims implying Japan is discriminating Islam and Muslims – a negative image for Japan, and a bad image for Muslims as it strongly implies that Islam and Muslims are so bad as to be kept at bay by Japan.  Obviously this would be embarrassing to the Japanese Government and hurtful to Muslims around the world and to those Muslims in that chat group.  I am one of those in the group.

This article provides readers with some perspectives of Islam in present-day Japan as well as sources that debunks the ill-intentioned claims.

First of all, the offensive posting is headlined “Japan keeps Islam at bay by putting restrictions on Islam and all Muslims.”  But is this claim true?

It is not.  In fact, Japan is witnessing a surge in its Muslim population in the last three to four decades.  The number of non-Japanese Muslims working in Japan is increasing; the number of Muslim tourists is increasing, the number of Japanese converts to Islam is increasing, and more and more Japanese are learning about Islam by attending lectures and visits to mosques. The land of the rising sun is fast embracing Islamic interest in the face of globalisation.

Japan is a homogeneous country with its people speaking just one language. However, since about two decades ago Japanese perspectives have widened, and Japanese hospitality towards Muslims is blossoming. Tourism is one of the areas of focus. Japan is attracting Muslims to it by boosting its tourism industry with Islam-friendly facilities, even making prayer rooms available at airports.

Obtaining halal food (permissible for Muslim consumption) is now not a concern.  Many halal eateries have sprouted in major Japanese cities apart from Tokyo. To facilitate Muslim visitors, lists giving the location of halal restaurants are made available online.  Mosque-visits to allow Japanese to see the interior of the mosque and learn about Islam are regularly arranged.

In an article, “Japan embraces Muslim visitors to bolster tourism”, Michael Penn, president of the Shingetsu News Agency, says: “The Japanese are opening their arms to Muslim tourists”. (17, December, 2015, Aljazeera)

A handbook produced by the Aichi Prefecture for Japanese illustrating Islamic practices and requirements to welcome Muslim visitors; and the interior and exterior views of the biggest mosque in Japan, Tokyo Camii. (Photos from Internet)

A handbook produced by the Aichi Prefecture for Japanese illustrating Islamic practices and requirements to welcome Muslim visitors; and the interior and exterior views of the biggest mosque in Japan, Tokyo Camii. (Photos from Internet)

Michael points out that the Aichi Prefecture in central Japan has published a Japanese-language Muslim Hospitality Handbook.

The 15-page handbook outlines the basic Muslim beliefs, common difficulties that Muslims face when visiting Japan, the facilities that Muslims need for their prayers, the locations of the local mosques, the food Muslims can eat, and other information and services helpful to Muslim visitors. ( http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2015/12/japan-embraces-muslim-visitors-bolster-tourism-151215112245391.html )

MOSQUES AND THE QUR’AN

There are numerous mosques all over Japan.

The oldest mosque is the Kobe Mosque, built in 1935.  “But the Tokyo Camii, which is modeled on Istanbul’s Blue Mosque, is the country’s largest. Today, over 80 mosques dot the country, and most of these are in major cities with big expat populations such as Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya and Yokohama,” says Ms Naomi Schanen, staff writer of The Japan Times.

Tokyo Camii, in Shibuya, was first built in 1938 and rebuilt in 2000 and can accommodate some two thousand Muslims during prayers.  “Camii is a Turkish word derived from the Arabic jami, and refers to a central “congregational mosque”. (“Tokyo Camii: Japan’s Biggest Mosque”/Nippon.com http://www.nippon.com/en/features/c01301/ )

The Tokyo Camii holds regular mosque-visits for non-Muslim Japanese adults and high-school student to get them see the interior of the mosque and know some basic facts about mosques and Islam.

Almost all mosques in Japan conduct Islamic classes for Muslim adults and children, would-be Japanese converts and non-Muslim Japanese who want to know Islam.

Copies of the Qur’an is a must-have in any mosque for people to read it while waiting for the prayer to start or at any other time of the day.

The Qur’an has been translated in over 200 major languages.  In Japan, the first Japanese who translated the Qur’an into Japanese was Mr Shumei Okawa, a prominent Islamic scholar in both the Japanese government and academia in matters of Japanese-Islamic exchange and studies.

A decade later, in 1958, another prominent figure, Mr Toshihiko Izutsu, who was professor emeritus at Keio University, completed the translation of the Qur’an into Japanese.  [Note: When one says “Qur’an”, it is the one in its original Arabic received by Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) as Revelations from God delivered by Angel Gabriel, the same Angel who delivered Revelations to all the prophets, including Prophets Abraham, Moses and Jesus (Peace be upon them), while translations are not the “Qur’an” but merely people’s efforts in interpreting the original.]

Japanese Muslims can get a copy of the translation of the Qur’an from the mosques in Japan, and any non-Muslim Japanese can get a free copy from the organisation, “Japanese Muslims”. ( http://www.japanesemuslims.com/free-quran/ )

CONVERTS TO ISLAM

Over the last 30 years, Japan is seeing an increase in the number of Japanese converting to Islam. Regarding the number of monthly converts to Islam, Naomi Schanen mentioned in her article in The Japan Times article, “Converts make up 10% of growing community”, that Mr Shigeru Shimoyama, a spokesman for the Tokyo Camii Mosque and a convert himself, had estimated in an interview with Nippon News in 2013 that around five Japanese enter the Islamic faith every month.  (Mr Shimoyama has edited and published numerous works explaining Islam to Japanese readers.)

Well-known Japanese wrestling, Antonio Inoki, converted to Islam in the 1990s, changing his name officially to Muhammad Hussain Inoki (though changing one’s name is not a must upon conversion), and continues to make his mark as an ambassador for world peace.

Another person, Ms Junko Hayashi, 37, who converted to Islam in 2001, has become Japan’s first female Muslim lawyer.

Yet, another convert is Prof Hassan Ko Nakata, a community activist, who sits on the board of directors of the Japan Muslim Association (JMA) whose President is Sheikh Amin Tokomasu, a Japanese and graduate of Al-Azhar University. In an interview, Prof Nakata said that JMA was established in 1952 by Japanese converts to Islam. “It is the oldest Islamic organisation in Japan. We in JMA maintain Muslim cemeteries, publish translations on the meaning of the Holy Qur`an, produce journals and generally publish and disseminate material on Islamic issues.”  He also said that most converts are Japanese women who have married foreign Muslim men. (http://english.religion.info/2010/08/07/islam-in-japan-an-interview-with-professor-hassan-ko-nakata/ )

Many Japanese who married foreign Muslims live in their countries while keeping close ties with their parents and relatives in Japan. One such person is Ms Keiko Soeda, who married a Singapore Muslim, Mr Yacob Hussain, 20 years ago and lives in Singapore with her husband. They have three children, from nine to 18.

Mr Yacob Hussein.

Mr Yacob Hussain.

When asked if halal food is easily available for Muslim tourists, Mr Yacob, a businessman, who makes business trips to Japan and also visits his in-laws, said: “There are halal outlets in Tokyo airports. Last December, I was in both Haneda and Narita airports in Tokyo. I was happy to see there were restaurants serving halal food.  At Haneda I saw a halal restaurant and bought some food; and at Narita, there were two big restaurants certified halal by both Malaysia and MUIS of Singapore.”

He added:  “Japanese are friendly, and they may also know halal food outlets, and even take you there.”

FRIENDLY AND COURTEOUS

Ms Keiko Soada

Ms Keiko Soeda

Mr Yacob’s wife, Ms Soeda, agreed and added: “Yes, Japanese people are friendly and courteous. There is no uneasiness in my family for me marrying a Muslim. In the last 40 years or so, most educated Japanese love travelling and they have contacts with Muslims.  For instance, our Tokyo Governor. Ms Yuriko Koike is not a Muslim but she studied and graduated from Cairo University and speaks fluent Arabic and English. She speaks in Arabic when speaking with Embassy officials from Arab countries and has strong ties with Arab countries.  She is now working hard in preparing to welcome Muslims from all over the world for the 2020 Olympics.”

Ms Soeda said that even before she married Mr Yacob she had known Muslims in Japan.  “Also, there are many Pakistanis and Turkish Imams (prayer leaders) in Japan’s mosques.  There are Muslims from Indonesia and Malaysia studying in Japan.  Some of the older Japanese may have a bit of misconception about Islam.  But there are already some Japanese working very hard to inform the Japanese public that Islam is a peaceful religion and inform them about its teachings.  Providing accurate information about Islam in the Japanese language is very important like what Mr Shimoyama, a Muslim convert, from Tokyo Camii Mosque is doing.”

A newspaper article urges Japanese to learn about Islam such as the importance of halal food for Muslims to accommodate the increasing number of Muslim tourists in Asahikawa, Hokkaido. The second photo shows Ms Keiko Soada’s son, Muhammad Yasir Yuuta, showing a halal restaurant logo flag issued by Halal Media Japan (HML). (Photo credit: Keiko Soada)

A newspaper article urges Japanese to learn about Islam such as the importance of halal food for Muslims to accommodate the increasing number of Muslim tourists in Asahikawa, Hokkaido. The second photo shows Ms Keiko Soeda’s son, Muhammad Yasir Yuuta, showing a halal restaurant logo flag issued by Halal Media Japan (HML). (Photo credit: Keiko Soeda)

As for Muslim requirements, Ms Soeda said that the Halal Media in Japan is an active organisation.  “They provide information regarding halal restaurants, mussolah or prayer rooms on FB and makes Muslim-friendly maps for major cities in Japan.”

When asked how often she visits her parents in Japan, Ms Soeda said: “My husband and I try to visit my family in Japan once a year.”

Mr Yacob, praising Japanese social values, said: “Though our cultural background is different, we have so many common values. These common values make me comfortable with Keiko’s family.”

He added: “Her parents are very warm and respect our differences. My mother-in-law has a whole set of utensils just for us to meet our halal requirements. They don’t think of it as a burden but she does it out of love and respect for me and Keiko who has converted to Islam and taken the name Khaiyisha Abdullah.”

Mr Yacob’s and Ms Soada’s three children: (From left) Muhammad Yasir Yuuta and Muhammad Yusof Yuuki enjoying their dinner ; while Nur Zahrah Yuko is helping her Japanese grandparents in preparing New Year mocha. (Photo credit: Keiko Soada)

Mr Yacob’s and Ms Soeda’s three children: (From left) Muhammad Yasir Yuuta and Muhammad Yusof Yuuki enjoying their dinner ; while Nur Zahrah Yuko is helping her Japanese grandparents in preparing New Year mocha. (Photo credit: Keiko Soeda)

Ms Soeda and her husband have allowed their children to learn about Japan and its culture. “We just spent the Japanese New Year (2017) there and our kids experienced Japanese traditions like eating osechi (traditional Japanese new year food), toshi koshi soba (noodle we usually eat between 31st and 1st midnight of the New Year) and made mochi ourselves.”

She added: “We want our kids to be broadminded. We allowed them to visit shrines and see how they celebrate the New Year.  It was a good learning experience for them. As my children are bigger now and can understand and appreciate the many aspects of Japanese culture, we even visited Kyoto, Nara, Osaka, Hiroshima and Niigata and the World Heritage Sites during our visit to my parents.”

Ms Keiko Soada (right, wearing red jacket) and her family members and friends at the Todaiji Temple in Nara, Japan, a world heritage site, containing the country’s biggest statue of Buddha. (Photo credit: Keiko Soada)

Ms Keiko Soeda (right, second row, wearing red jacket) and her family members and friends at the Todaiji Temple in Nara, Japan, a world heritage site, containing the country’s biggest statue of Buddha. (Photo credit: Keiko Soeda)

Another Japanese, Ms Sakura Tsutsumi, 23, who my wife and I have had the pleasure of personal contact three times within a year, the latest being in mid-February this year (2017), has been exposed to eating and staying with Muslims.

Ms Sakura Tsutsumi met the writer’s family three times within a year: (From left photo, first, when she (left) came with her university-mate, Ms Kaho Matsushita, for a 3-day homestay under JENESYS at the writer’s home in February 2016 during which she wore the writer’s daughter’s Muslim-Malay; second, when she came to Singapore with a dance troupe to present Japanese dance items for the “50 years of Singapore-Japan Friendship” festival in October 2016, and third, when she and her friend, Ms Sayaka Ogawa, came to Singapore for a 3-day holiday in mid-February 2017.

Ms Sakura Tsutsumi met the writer’s family three times within a year: (From left photo, first, when she (left) came with her university-mate, Ms Kaho Matsushita, for a 3-day homestay under JENESYS at the writer’s home in February 2016 during which she wore the writer’s daughter’s Muslim-Malay; second, when she came to Singapore with a dance troupe to present Japanese dance items for the “50 years of Singapore-Japan Friendship” festival in October 2016, and third, when she and her friend, Ms Sayaka Ogawa, came to Singapore for a 3-day holiday in mid-February 2017.

A few days ago, I messaged her asking three simple questions about Japanese-Muslim relationship and almost immediately came the reply. The following are her exact, unedited replies:

1) “Muslims in Japan are not bad people. They are full kindness people like you!! Bad or good is not depends on their religion. I like muslim friends.”

2) “Yes! In my university, there are many Muslim exchange students!!”

3) “You are sooo kind!!! For this time (holiday in Singapore), I messeged you before the day we meet, but you treated us and cooked really delicious food! Thanks a lot!! You are always great for us.”

Ms Soeda, who works at the Japanese Embassy, said there are many Japanese Muslims in Singapore. “I know of many.  We have a network among a few of us, called Sakura Club, and whoever is a Japanese convert can join the club. We all retain our Japanese roots and speak in Japanese and eat halal Japanese food. By converting, we are not less Japanese; we are still Japanese but Muslims.”

After the marriage solemnisation (nikah) at the Sultan Mosque, Singapore: “A recent marriage of a Japanese, Youngri, to a Singaporean, Ridzwan. With them are Japanese converts who came to support the occasion,” says Ms Keiki Soada who is wearing a black scarf (second from right). “Eleven Japanese converts residing in Singapore gathered to join in the celebration representing the bride side.” (Photo credit: Keiko Soada)

After the marriage solemnisation (nikah) at the Sultan Mosque, Singapore: “A recent marriage of a Japanese, Youngri, to a Singaporean, Ridzwan. With them are Japanese converts who came to support the occasion,” says Ms Keiki Soeda who is wearing a black scarf (second from right). “Eleven Japanese converts residing in Singapore gathered to join in the celebration representing the bride side.” (Photo credit: Keiko Soeda)

The writing of this article, interviewing Ms Keiko Soeda and her husband, Mr Yacob Hussein, and Ms Sakura Tsutsumi and doing some research on Islam in Japan, is the outcome of a sensitive point-form graphic claims that was forwarded by a person to a chat group which comprises Christians, Muslims and Hindus.  Mr Yacob and I are in the group.

FALSE INFORMATION

Finally, regarding the graphic image forwarded by irresponsible people, Louis Jacobson, in his article, “Viral graphic says Japan keeps out radical Islam through strong restrictions on Muslims,” in PolitiFact, highlighted as a starter the following four issues:

In Japan, (1) “permanent residency is not given to Muslims,” (2) the “propagation of Islam” is banned, (3) “one cannot import a Koran published in the Arabic language,” and   (4) “Muslims cannot even rent a house.” — Viral image on Monday, November 16th, 2015 in posts on the Internet

Mr Jacobson interviewed three professors on the focussed four claims and the following are their responses:

  • “The chain email is nothing but malicious falsehood,” said Prof Kumiko Yagi, Tokyo University.
  • All four of the claims we spotlighted are wrong, said Prof Kamada Shigeru, University of Tokyo
  • These four claims “are totally unfounded,” said Prof Glenda S. Roberts, Waseda University.

(The full article by Louis Jacobson is given in Appendix 1 of 3 provided below.)

Any responsible person who received such malicious materials pertaining to religion, ought to do some homework first before re-forwarding it to others. People who forward sensitive materials are equally guilty of a serious offence to those who created the materials in the first instance.

Mr John Vijayan.

Mr John Vijayan.

Not all forwarded materials carry accurate information. Serious matters – matters that can hurt personal feelings and disrupt harmony ought to be deleted and not re-forwarded. On false information and sensitive matters that touch on race and religion, Mr John Vijayan, a community activist, has this advice: “Do not forward something that is sensitive to race and religion although it may seem okay to the sender but not so to the recipients.  It is important to know that the sender is still liable under our local laws if he forwards postings which undermine religions and races, even though they may not be penned by the sender.”

The Qur’an warns against irresponsible and mischievous acts.  To irresponsible people in such cases as is being highlighted in this article,  the Qur’an, more the 1400 years ago, warned: “O those who believe, if an irresponsible person brings you a report, verify its correctness before telling it to others, lest you harm people out of ignorance.” (Qur’an, 49:6)

Shaik Kadir

25 February 2017

APPENDICES

Appendix 1 (The full article by Louis Jacobson in Poilifact debunking the info in the viral image)

The following article, “Viral graphic says Japan keeps out radical Islam through strong restrictions on Muslims,” by Louis Jacobson published in PolitiFact on Tuesday, November 17th, 2015, is reproduced here for free sharing.

Website: http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2015/nov/17/viral-image/viral-graphic-says-japan-keeps-out-radical-islam-t/

=====================

The article highlighted the following four claims of the graphic:

In Japan, “permanent residency is not given to Muslims,” the “propagation of Islam” is banned, “one cannot import a Koran published in the Arabic language,” and “Muslims cannot even rent a house.” — Viral image on Monday, November 16th, 2015 in posts on the Internet

About this (headline) statement:

Published: Tuesday, November 17th, 2015 at 4:43 p.m.

Researched by: Louis Jacobson

Edited by: Angie Drobnic Holan

Subjects: DiversityReligion

Sources:

Viral graphic, received by PolitiFact Nov. 16, 2015

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, “Websites of Japanese Embassies, Consulates and Permanent Missions,” accessed Nov. 17, 2015

Prime Minister of Japan and His Cabinet, “The Prime Minister Hosts the Iftar with the Islamic Diplomatic Corps in Japan,” July 16, 2014

Ministry of Justice of Japan, “The Nationality Law,” accessed Nov. 17, 2015

Email interview with Kumiko Yagi, professor at the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies Graduate School, Nov. 16, 2015

Email interview with Kamada Shigeru, professor of Islamic studies at the University of Tokyo, Nov. 16, 2015

Email interview with Glenda S. Roberts, professor of cultural anthropology and Japanese studies at the graduate school of Asia-Pacific Studies at Waseda University, Nov. 16, 2015

The article:

Viral graphic says Japan keeps out radical Islam through strong restrictions on Muslims

By Louis Jacobson on Tuesday, November 17th, 2015 at 4:43 p.m.

Amid rising concerns about terrorist attacks by ISIS, we’ve seen an uptick in chain emails and viral images about Islam.

One viral image points to Japan as an example of a country that keeps out radical Islam by cracking down on all forms of Islam and its adherents, implying that this is a good model for the United States to follow.

The graphic is a simple black-and-white block of text with the headline, “Japan keeps Islam at bay by putting restrictions on Islam and all Muslims.” The graphic then mentions a variety of ways in which Japan supposedly keeps tight control over the Muslims in its midst:

  • “Japan is the only nation that does not give citizenship to Muslims”

  • “Permanent residency is not given to Muslims”

  • “Propagation of Islam in Japan is banned”

  • “In the University of Japan, Arabic or any Islamic language is not taught”

  • “Japan is the only country in the world with a negligible number of embassies in Islamic countries”

  • “One cannot import a ‘Koran’ published in the Arabic language”

  • “Muslims must follow Japanese law and language”.

  • “The Japanese government is of the opinion that Muslims are fundamentalist, and unwilling to change their Muslim laws”

  • “Muslims cannot even rent a house in Japan”

  • “There is no sharia law in Japan”

We wondered whether the graphic is accurate. To streamline our analysis, we focused mostly on these four claims — that in Japan, “permanent residency is not given to Muslims,” the “propagation of Islam” is banned, “one cannot import a Koran published in the Arabic language,” and “Muslims cannot even rent a house.”

We heard back from three experts who have experience with the intersection of Japan and Islam, and all three said the graphic is blatantly incorrect.

“The chain email is nothing but malicious falsehood,” said Kumiko Yagi, a professor at the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies Graduate School who has written extensively about Islam and other religions.

Kamada Shigeru, a professor of Islamic studies at the University of Tokyo, agreed, saying that all four of the claims we spotlighted are wrong.

He said Japan doesn’t discriminate in permanent residency on the basis of religion and that “propagation” of Islam is not banned. He added that the Koran or other religious books in Arabic can be imported.

As for renting a residence, he said there may be some reluctance among residents of Japan to rent apartments to foreigners as a general rule, but he said there’s no specific animus toward Muslims.

These four claims “are totally unfounded,” said Glenda S. Roberts, a professor of cultural anthropology and Japanese studies at the graduate school of Asia-Pacific Studies at Waseda University in Tokyo. “It is disturbing that such an email is circulating,” she added. “These claims are simply ridiculous.”

Other claims in the graphic are easily debunked.

For instance, the graphic claims that “Japan is the only country in the world with a negligible number of embassies in Islamic countries.” Yet a quick visit to the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ website shows that Japan has embassies in such countries as Afghanistan, Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen, plus a permanent representative to the Palestinian Authority.

Meanwhile, there is nothing in Japanese nationality law that prevents Muslims from becoming naturalized citizens. The requirements concern length of residency, age, a history of “upright conduct,” the ability to support oneself and a willingness to give up other nationalities. There is no mention of religion.

As for universities not teaching Arabic, we found that the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies does. Classes in Arabic are also taught at the Arabic Islamic Institute in Tokyo.

Last year, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made clear Japan’s respect for people of the Islamic faith during an event with the Islamic diplomatic corps.

“I have found that a fundamental aspect of the spirit of Islam is harmony with and love for others,” Abe said. “I believe therein lie points of commonality with the Japanese spirit, which is founded on co-existence.”

The graphic says that in Japan, “permanent residency is not given to Muslims,” the “propagation of Islam” is banned, “one cannot import a Koran published in the Arabic language,” and “Muslims cannot even rent a house.”

Each of these four statements is incorrect, and the overall point of the graphic — that Japan keeps itself free from radical Islam by discriminating against all Muslims — is dramatically off-base. We rate these claims Pants on Fire.   -END-

Appendix 2 (A video debunking the info in the viral image – by a young non-Muslim lady)

“Japan is NOT anti-Muslim”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OkoblxzVjfA

Appendix 3 (Just 15 of the numerous Youtube videos about Japanese Muslims and Japanese-Muslim relationship)

1.    “Meeting the Muslim in Japan (With English subtitle)”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AFlDorHeYUs

  1. “Muslims Vs Japanese – Inside Lens – NHK WORLD – JAPAN NEWS”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UoXkTG7YBIw

  1. “Japanese and Islam (Explained by convert Shimoyama)”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=URclZuaho8M&t=61s

4a) “Rise of Islam in Japan ♥ Part 1

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Hwek17-qE0

4b) “Rise of Islam in Japan ♥ Part 2

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hGL5e1U2qrI

  1. “Very Emotional Converts to Islam Japan”

www.youtube.com/watch?v=krQ5qsfDh8o

  1. “Japanese Islamic Marriage in Tokyo Camii”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VnUCQXSpbCQ

  1. Japan getting ready for Muslim tourists”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lvq59F6SSNk&t=54s

  1. “Being Muslim in Japan”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rmSr_HfAdvI&t=244s

  1. “Muslims In Japanese Society”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Omtr04Kbyvc&t=215s

  1. “Bridging Muslims and Japanese – Inside Lens – NHK WORLD”

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O6sTQ2DW5SU

  1. “Japanese listening to the Qu’ran for the first time”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xkf2gj-47wg

  1. Japanese Man Journey To Islam

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hc6ADbQQmhQ

  1. Japanese Adhan / Azan Jepun (Muslim Brotherhood)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vDDqBFYOa_A&feature=youtu.be
  2. Japanese Style Qasidah Burdah – Nasheed by Sh. Ahmad Abu Hakeem Maeno 

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pUN2kNE4I7M&feature=youtu.be

  3. Sheikh Yusuf Estes in Tokyo, Japan – October 2012

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tqh5UEU7QkQ&feature=youtu.be

  *  **  *  **  *

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Saving one life is like saving the whole mankind

Saving one life is like saving the whole mankind

(Reproduced from author’s own article published in The Muslim Reader of 33 Issue 2015-2016)

(1)Front cover of The Muslim Converts’ Association of Singapore’s biannual magazine, “The Muslim Reader (TMR), 33 Issue 2015-2016. (2)	Title page of Shaik Kadir’s article in TMR on Page 76.

(1) Front cover of The Muslim Converts’ Association of Singapore’s biannual magazine, “The Muslim Reader (TMR), 33 Issue 2015-2016.
(2) Title page of Shaik Kadir’s article in TMR on Page 76.

First page of the article on Page 77 of TMR

First page of the article on Page 77 of TMR

The saving of even one human being life from death is like saving the whole mankind.  This is the message of Islam.

The essence of Islam is believing in God and doing righteousness.  And saving of lives of human beings or animals is an act of righteousness.  In fact, the instruction to do righteous acts is a thread that runs through all religions.  Indeed, according to the Islamic faith, Islam is the zenith of the divine or revealed teachings (of all the prophets down the ages) that started from Prophet Adam (AS), the first prophet of God, and completed by Prophet Muhammad, the final prophet. Between these two prophets there were hundreds of other prophets of God sent to all nations and tribes with every one of them giving the same fundamental Islamic instruction: Serve God and be righteous.  With the completion of the way of life for all mankind, comes Islam, the divine name as given by God in the Qur’an.  Islam, in its core, means peace.  When a person observes Islam seriously, his life will be at peace, his actions will motivate righteousness and his environment will stimulate harmony.

In Islam, torturing or killing of animals for entertainment or sports, like in cock-fight, bull-fight and rodeos as well as cruelty to animals in whatever way, like depriving them of food or keeping them in a small and confined place, are haram (prohibited).  No animal ought to be abused for fun or killed for entertainment.  In Islam, even when one kills a permitted animal for food, the animal must be killed in the Islamic way (without making the animal suffer or go through fright and pain) for the meat to be deemed halal (permitted for consumption).

Islam considers all life forms as sacred but the life of human beings is even more precious.  Thus, the killing of any human being, except by the decision of the court of law of the country concerned, is a hideous act; it is un-Islamic and is a crime.

The killing of an innocent person by a member of the public or by people of any group, is often carried out, in its core, due to societal or political animosity and vengeance or religious hate or misguidance; and is not based on the teachings of a religion.  In this respect, if a person who called himself a Muslim and killed any human being, Muslim or a non-Muslim, by any method, he ought to be condemned as a murderer and due punishment by the law of the country meted out to him when arrested. God says: “If any one kills a person, it would be as if he had killed the whole mankind…” (Al-Maida, 05:32)

There have been many reported killings by people who call themselves Muslims.  Many of them kill innocent people, both Muslims and non-Muslims, in the name of Islam.  These so-called Muslims who killed innocent people in public places and even during their prayers in churches and mosques had clearly gone against the basic rules of Islam.  The Qur’an instructs: “Take not life, which God has made sacred, except by way of justice and law: thus does He (God) command you, that you may learn wisdom.” (Al-An’am, 06:151)

In Islam, the sanctity of human life is so special and sacred that the Qur’an gives a vivid emphasis, thus: “If any one kills a person, it would be as if he had killed the whole mankind: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole mankind.”  (Al-Maida, 05:32)

First page of the article on Page 78 of TMR

Second page of the article on Page 78 of TMR

Violence is against Islam – because in a violent situation, people, both the perpetrators and the innocent bystanders, would be hurt or killed. The living condition of their family members of both sides would also suffer.

Islam wants Muslims to show restraint, patience, fortitude and piety in the face of provocation and humiliation.  This is evident from the moral character of our Prophet, Prophet Muhammad (SAW).  He was a living exponent of the Qur’an.  Indeed he showed restraint, courage, patience, fortitude and piety when people insulted and humiliated him.

Despite all the provocations and insults, our Prophet (SAW)never retaliated the provokers; instead he advised his followers, who were ready to die to defend his honour, to restrain and be patient. Our Prophet (SAW) was abused and even physically attacked.  He was stoned and he bled.  But he and his followers, though angry, did not retaliate.

Islamic teachings advocate the saving of lives and the Prophet (SAW) had to restrain to be an exemplar to his followers, himself following what he had been sent to teach: Save lives.  He was sent as a mercy to all mankind (Rahmahtul-Alameen) and not restrictive to Muslims only.

So, what happened to our Prophet (SAW) and Islam for observing and fortifying the principle of restraint and patience to save lives?  Our Prophet (SAW) became victorious, his followers increased and Islam flourished – all in a period of 10 short years during his stay in Medina after being driven away from Mecca, the city of his birth and growth.

A decade later, when the Prophet (SAW) re-entered Mecca with 10,000 followers, he could have easily demolish his enemies but he did not.  His bitter enemy, Abu Sufyan, was spared.  Abu Sufyan’s wife, Hindon, had engaged an assassin to kill the Prophet’s beloved uncle, Hamza, and when he was killed, Hindon even cut open the deceased’s chest and pulled out his heart and abused it. Still, the Prophet (SAW) saved her life.  The lives of many others who had a hand in driving away the Prophet (SAW) from Mecca and who had humiliated and provoked him and killed his followers were all saved.

What happened to Mecca?  Mecca and the whole of Arabia became Muslim within 15 years of the passing of the Prophet (SAW).

Muslims, from any part of the world need to follow the moral example set by our Prophet (SAW).  Indeed more and more unbiased people are embracing Islam through the efforts of Muslims in portraying Islam through admirable behaviour, conduct and speech.  Insulting and demeaning religious founders, especially by educated people, is highly deplorable.  In the case of Muslims, Prophet Muhammad (SAW) is near and dear to them. Insulting and demeaning the Prophet (SAW) would certainly anger Muslims.  But Muslims ought to emulate the character of their beloved Prophet in observing restraint and patience.

Muslims need to do their part to portray a good image of Muslims and the beauty of Islam indirectly through good behaviour, conduct and speech and directly through inter-faith dialogues and forums and through writings from organisations and individuals.

Third page of the article on Page 79 of TMR

Third page of the article on Page 79 of TMR

Also, what both Muslims and non-Muslims should seriously begin to act upon as from now is to take the recent the incidents in Paris, Syria and North Carolina as lessons and banish hate, prejudice, bigotry, ignorance, provocation, vengeance and intolerance from their hearts and souls, and instead come forward to establish rapport and bonding with one and all and learn from each other’s way of life for enrichment and appreciation.

God, addressing all people of whatever race or religion, says:  “O mankind! We created you from (a single pair of) a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know each other (not that you may despise each other). Verily, the most honoured of you in the sight of God is (he who is) the most righteous of you.”  (Al-Hujurat, 49:13)

There are black sheep among people of every religion; but the good ones are certainly overwhelming in number.  So, we must not let the handful of the bad people hijack the religion and the good people.  Islamophobia needs to be ousted.  Indeed, there are many broad-minded non-Muslims who understand Islamic practices and principles lend support to Muslim aspirations.

With understanding and tolerance, we can make the earth a safe place to live and dwell for our children and future generations. Save lives, and promote humanity and humanitarian endeavours to build a harmonious and peaceful world. Perhaps some countries need to take a leaf from the success of Singapore in maintaining peace, harmony and togetherness among its multi-racial, multi-religious and multi-cultural citizens, where freedom of speech does not mean that anyone can poke fun or ridicule other religions or religious founders and leaders, where freedom in their religious and cultural practices are allowed and where possession of fire-arms are outlawed.

As for Muslims in general, they have a great deal of self- improvement and development to do to observe righteousness. The Straits Times (13 February 2015) in its subsequent report of the Chapel Hill (North Carolina) incident mentions that Mr Farris Barakat hoped that the murder of his brother would not be retaliated with further violence.  He said: “Do not fight fire with fire…do not let ignorance propagate in your life, do not reply ignorance with ignorance.”

Islam instructs all people: Do not kill but save lives: “…if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole mankind.”  (Al-Maida, 05:32)

*  **  *  **  *

Shaik Kadir

(Reproduced from author’s own article published in The Muslim Reader of 33 Issue 2015-2016)

5 February 2017

 

 

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“My school uniform”

“My school uniform”

A week before I started school on 2 January 2017, my parents made me wear my school uniform just to make me feel how nice it would look on me and to get me used to it.  They want me to start my childhood by socialising with different racial and religious communities of Singapore.

My name is Nur Iffah Muhammad Imran. I am two and a half years old in January, and the school, Sparkle Tots Preschool, is in Bedok North. My class is Nursery 1, a daily two-hour play-group class with15 multi-racial children.

My first day at school began from my paternal grandparent’s home. I call my grandmother “Nani” and my grandfather “Atuk”.

Both Nani and Atuk have given me lots of school-life encouragement. They made me feel that school-life is interesting, saying I would have many friends, have many toys to play, play games with the teachers and learn many things.

MY FIRST DAY

Since I was six months old, Mommy and Daddy have been sending me to Atuk’s home at around 6:15 in the morning on weekdays and then go to work. They fetched me home around 7 pm after having dinner at Atuk and Nani’s home.

I was excited on my first day of school. As my school starts at 10 in the morning, at about 8:45 am Nani bathed me and put on my school uniform.  I didn’t like the white and red uniform.  My favourite colour has always been pink. I made fun of it at first. Below are some photos of me in my uniform.

At first, I disliked my school uniform. Uh! Red and white. My favourite colour is pink.

I don’t like my school uniform. Uh! Red and white. My favourite colour is pink. Ha! Ha! Terrible colours!  The red makes me dizzy!

I maee fun of the uniform by running around in a circle in different poses.

I make fun of the uniform by running around in a circle in different poses.

But, a few minutes later I began to like my uniform.  The colours are like that of the Singapore’s flag – the white colour stands for purity and virtue while the red stands for brotherhood and the equality of man.

Soon, I like it. Ah, red and white are colours of Singapore’s flag. I am proud of wearing it now.

Suddenly, I realised.  Ah, red and white are the colours of my Singapore’s flag. I am proud of wearing the uniform now.  The colours match strikingly with my blue schoolbag.

That morning Mommy was able to take a few hours off her work and so she came back from her school to take me, Atuk and Nani to my school. Daddy was unable to get leave.  But he has given me lots of kisses early that morning.

Today (2 January 2017) is going to be my first day at school. My Nani, Atuk and Mommy are going to send me to school. I am ready but I am a bit nervous – I sat with my Nani, walked around and wrote something while waiting for my Mommy to arrive.

Today (2 January 2017) is going to be my first day at school. My Nani, Atuk and Mommy are going to send me to school. I am ready but I am a bit nervous – I sat with my Nani in the balcony, walked around and scribbled something while waiting for my Mommy to arrive.

MY CLASSROOM

I entered my classroom with some unease and held my Mommy’s hand tightly. Atuk and Nani too came into the classroom. Since it was the first day, parents, grandparents and guardians were allowed in, and our two teachers, Teacher Casey and Teacher Pauline, talked about our school matters to them while many of us, seeing the numerous play-things in the room, excitedly walked around touching and lifting this and that.

My first experience in a school. My Mommy, my Nani and my Atuk are all in the classroom to support and give confidence to me in my formal educational journey.

My first experience in a school. My Mommy, my Nani and my Atuk are all in the classroom to support and give confidence to me in my formal educational journey.

While Teacher Casey and Teacher Pauline talked to parents and guardians of the children, we children busied ourselves with the many playthings around us.

While Teacher Casey and Teacher Pauline talked to the parents, grandparents and guardians of the children, we children busied ourselves with the many playthings around us.

Soon, our first day ended and we were happy.  I love school. There so many things to play. And I shall make friends with the other children. But for today, my first day, I want to go home.

After the first day session, I posed for photos just outside my classroom with my Atuk, Mommy and Nani who were so happy to see me happy.

After the first day session, I posed for photos just outside my classroom with my Atuk, Mommy and Nani who were so happy to see me happy.

We were also happy throughout the week because only one acquainted person of every child, usually a parent or a grandparent, was allowed to be with us in the classroom while our teachers sang nursery rhymes and danced with us.  In my case, while both Nani and Atuk took me to school but only Nani was with me in the classroom. Atuk stood and loitered outside, occasionally peering from the open windows to make sure I was alright.

Over the next few days Teacher Pauline (left) Teacher Casey played with us. They even taught us to play the choo-choo train game.

Over the next few days Teacher Pauline (left) and Teacher Casey played with us. They even taught us to play the choo-choo train game.

In another Nursery Rhyme game, Teacher Casey “fell” and I quickly rushed to help her. And then two other children came to help her.

In another Nursery Rhyme singing game, Teacher Casey “fell” at the end of the song and I quickly rushed to help her. And then two other children came to help her, too.  We enjoyed the game.

The real anxiety began in the second and third week when the parent, grandparent or guardian were told to leave the classroom slowly after about an hour. Of course, many of the children wailed and cried. I sobbed, crying “Nak Nani, nak Nani” (I want Nani, I want Nani) and pointing my hand in the direction of the door but my teachers consoled me.

I looked glad that the ordeal of the day was over and my loves ones were there to take me home.

From the second day onwards, Atuk and Nana took me to school and back. For memory, photos of me were taken even at the bus-stop and in the bus.

From the second day onwards, Atuk and Nani took me to school and back. For memory, photos of me were taken even at the bus-stop and in the bus.

My paternal relatives meet me regularly. Once, Nani Nab (first photo) came to my school and we went home together and at another time, Nani Mah came. But every day, I would be with my paternal grandmother, “Nani”. Once, I even met up with Aunty Denise (photo at extreme right) who would come out of her office to hug me when Atuk takes me for a walk in the neighbourhood before going home.

My paternal relatives meet me sometimes. Once, Nani Nab (first photo) came to my school and we went home together and at another time, Nani Mah (second photo) came. But every day, I would be with my paternal grandmother, “Nani”. Once, I even met up with Aunty Denise (photo at extreme right) who would come out of her office to hug me when Atuk takes me for a walk in the neighbourhood before going home.

Atuk used to take me to the playground near his block every day before I started schooling, but one day in mid-January, he took me there for me to me recall the place.

Atuk used to take me to the playground near his block everyday before I started schooling, but one day in mid-January, he took me there for me to recall the place.

Everyday, at the end of the class, when our parent/grandparent came to fetch us, our teachers hugged us one by one and we bid them goodbye.

MY FRIENDS

By the middle of the third week, a few of my classmates were still, like the previous days, afraid to go into the classroom unaccompanied. They cried, some refused to go in. But our qualified teachers were firm and took charge of us. But, I made friends.  Now I have many friends.

With my classmates Hazel, Elydia and Kaeden...

With my classmates Hazel, Elydia and Kaeden…

With my classmates Elise, Li Xin and Lutfi…

With my classmates Elise, Li Xin and Lutfi…

With my classmates Anshika, Anisah and Bandi…

With my classmates Anshika, Anisah and Bandi…

MY TEACHERS

I was no longer scared, but I was tensed when Nani left me to wait for me outside the classroom. The windows were closed so no parent/grandparent distracted our attention while we were with our teachers.  Most of the wailing and sobbing children slowly calmed down with the close attention of our teachers.

On the last couple of days of the third week, I did not cry at all.  I have developed confidence to be on my own.  Thanks to my teachers for their care and love of us. That made me confident of myself. They are wonderful. Both my teachers gave the thumbs up to Nani and Atuk when they came to the door to fetch me.

Everyday, at the end of the class, when our parent/grandparent came to fetch us, our teachers hugged us one by one and we bid them goodbye.  I love my teachers.

Everyday, at the end of the 2-hour class, Teacher Pauline (left) and Teacher Casey gives each us a loving hug as we leave the classroom. I am not afraid because my Nani and Atuk waited outside to fetch me. I have stuck a photo of my Daddy, Mommy, Nani and Atuk on the wall.

Everyday, at the end of the 2-hour class, Teacher Pauline (left) and Teacher Casey give each us a loving hug as we leave the classroom.  I have stuck a photo of my Daddy, Mommy, Nani and Atuk on the wall to remember them.  But,  I am not afraid of school any more. My teachers are always there, ready to help us. They love us.

CHINESE NEW YEAR CELEBRATIONS

The end of January was a time for joy as students all over Singapore celebrated the Chinese New Year (CNY) on its eve. We too celebrated. There was no need to wear our uniform and many of us came to school in “red”, the auspicious colour of the Chinese New Year custom, many wearing red Chinese attire.  I was wearing a dark blue Chinese attire. We had lots of fun.  We wished our teachers a very Happy New Year.

With two of my classmates, my Nani and my maternal grandparents... My paternal Atuk is unable to join us children for the Chinese New Year celebrations because he had injured his toe badly and it is bandaged.

With two of my classmates, my Nani and my maternal grandparents… My paternal Atuk is unable to join us  for the Chinese New Year celebrations because he had injured his toe badly and it is bandaged.

At the nearby amphitheatre, the children get ready to make their presentations. Most of us wore Chinese attire, many in red colour.

At the nearby amphitheatre, the children get ready to make their presentations. Most of us wore Chinese attire, many in red colour.

Parents/guardians are always around to comfort and encourage us.

Some of the parents are always around to comfort and encourage us to participate in the CNY celebrations..

My Mommy and I are waiting for my turn to go on stage.

My Mommy and I are waiting for my turn to go on stage.

Soon, I and some of my classmates made our presentations, a lively song-dance item.

Soon, I and some of my classmates went up the stage and made our presentation, a lively song-dance item. I performed well. I enjoyed my first public performance.

BACK TO SCHOOL

After the long Chinese New Year holiday weekend, school resumed today (1 February 2017), exactly a month from the day I first stepped into the classroom. It is fun to go back to school.

I’m back to school on 1 February, after enjoying my long Chinese New Year holidays. Atuk is not able to send me to school because of his foot injury, so I gave my salam to him. Nani took me to school and I waved and threw kisses at Atuk from the lift. Ta-daa! Some half hour later, I’m in front of the school door already. Yes, I am happy to go to school. I love my school. I love my teachers.

I’m back in school on 1 February, after enjoying my long Chinese New Year holidays. Atuk is not able to send me to school because of his foot injury, so I gave my salam to him. Nani took me to school and I waved and threw kisses at Atuk from the lift. Ta-daa! Some half hour later, I’m in front of the school door already. Yes, I am happy to go to school. I love my school. I love my teachers.

I love my school uniform, my very first school uniform, and look forward to wearing many other school uniforms along the long journey of my school life.  Insya-Allah.

Nur Iffah Muhammad Imran

(Transposed by Atuk Shaik Kadir)

1 February 2017

 

 

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A BIG “Thank you” to you…

 

A BIG “Thank you” to you…

I received more than 60 birthday greetings (via Facebook, WhatsApp and emails) on my birthday yesterday (29 January 2017) from my relatives and friends. Some were accompanied by online birthday cards, the convenience of today’s internet facility.

In response to them, instead of thanking each of them individually for their greetings and blessings as and when received, I decided to list out their names together with their greetings. Perhaps, this is the first time someone is responding in such a way.  (I had the time to do it because I am not able to walk out of my home yet – I injured my right foot baby toe upon carelessly hitting hard against the leg of my dining table and dropped in great pain. My son and my wife took me to hospital and an x-ray showed that there is a serious fracture and the toe was bandaged to the next toe and oral medication given. And that is why, some of my relatives have wished me speedy recovery in their birthday greetings. There is no more pain now and it should be completely healed in a few weeks.)

The well-wishers’ names and messages are as follows (in the order of appearance):

  • Wandy Azley: Happy Birthday.
  • Zuraimi Abdul Basheer: Happy Birthday Encik Shaik Kadir!
  • Ayra Faisal: Semoga diberikan kesihatan, rezeki yang luas dan berbahagia disamping famili tersayang. Happiest Bday encik Kadir.
  • Eryka Adams: Happy birthday bro – may Allah bless you with good health
  • Beth Hickman Hage: (From USA) Have a wonderful birthday and may you enjoy many more.
  • Hairos CM: Slmt Hari Lahir uncle..semoga d pjgkn usia..kesihatan yg baik..kebahagiaan d dunia dan d akhirat..aamiin.
  • Zainab Marican: Happy Birthday to Sir Shaik Kadir. May Allah bless you with health & plenty Rezeki. Aamiin.
  • Zarin Kamisah: Selamat hari lahir buat mamu Shaik Kadir… Semoga sentiasa berbahagia di samping keluarga tersayang.
  • Noor Liah: Happy birthday Shaik Kadir semoga dipanjangkan umur dan murah rezeki in sya Allah Aamiin3…
  • Shamira Abdul Majeed: Advance birthday lunch for mamu Shaik Kadir ! We can’t bring you out so we bring food to you 😉 (With photo which she took at my home)
  • Sithi Junaidha: Speedy recovery to you uncle kader and a blessed Happy Birthday to you
  • Amir Gany Mohd Ali: Happy Birthday Mamu Shaik Kadir. May Allah bless you and your family. I respect Kadir as a kind, responsible n caring brother. Alhamdulillah.
  • Zainab Bee: Happy birthday baijan semuga cepat sembuh insyaAllah aamiin
  • Judd Gray Oyler: (From North Carolina, USA) HAPPY BIRTHDAY 🎉🎊
  • Moemi Takei: (From Japan) Happy birthday, papa! Hope you have a great day
  • At home with niece Shamira Abdul Majeed: “Happy birthday and speedy recovery Mamu. No worries about the makan. We can go when you’re well. Take care.”

    With niece Shamira Abdul Majeed at my home: “Happy birthday and speedy recovery Mamu. No worries about the makan. We can go when you’re well. Take care.”

  • Lina Koh: Happy Birthday 🎂 Shaik Kadir.
  • Endang Mulyati: Selamat Hari Lahir (Photo)
  • Khalid Khoso: Happy birthday dearest Shaik Kadir.may you have many more prospectus and healthy years to come ahead 😐
  • Anthony Chong: Selamat Hari Jadi, Cik Shaik.
  • Dick Yip: Blessed Birthday Shaik ! More to come….
  • Nurimuslima Abdullah: Happy Birthday
  • Lib Gray Dula: (From North Carolina, USA) Hope you have a wonderful day today Shaik Kadir
  • Suryani Nasiruddin: Happy birthday to shaik kadir may Allah bless you and happy always
  • Sofiah Chong: happy birthday bro. May Allah bless you & family!
  • Faz Gaffa-Marsh: Spending time with Mamu & Mami on Mamu’s “21st” birthday. 😉 (With photo which she took at my home)
  • Suhaila Ghaffar: Young at heart 😉
  • Rahmah Abdul Rahim: Happy Birthday Bang. Di doakan bahagia dunia akhirat
  • Indira Tabo: (From Philippines) Happy Birthday, papa Shaik! More blessings! Cheers to more travels! 😊
  • Fauziah Ali: Happy birthday abg Shaik Kadir. Semoga di beri kesehatan selalu.
  • Lee Samsudin Ibrahim: Happy birthday Shaik n many happy returns
  • Grandson Adam Rayan Dula (3 yrs 2 mths).

    Grandson Adam Rayan Dula (3 yrs 2 mths).

  • Hassan Abdullah: Selamat Hari Lahir Semoga di beri kesihatan, reziki yang banyak. Amiin
  • Fiona Qadijah Ng: Happy birthday
  • Yulia Indahri: happy birthday, Pak. many happy returns of the day!
  • Mohd Jefri Tek Abdullah: Selamat Hari Jadi dan sihat selalu
  • Riduan Shafique Abdullah Tok: Best Wishes to You On This Special Day of Yours. May Your Wishes Come True.
  • Ramli Hamid: Happy birthday my old Friend. May you be blessed with good health always, good fortune and many many birthdays ahead. In syaa Allah.
  • Karim Mastan: May Allah bless u with the best of health n happiness always Amin…
  • Syedah Qasim: Happy birthday to my brother, Shaik Kadir. May Allah s.w.t bless you with good health, wealth and be happy always with your loved ones. Ameen 🎂
  • Fuad Lew: Happy birthday
  • Evelyn Yap: Happy birthday Shaik Kadir 🎂
  • Mohd Safuan Abdullah: Sanah Helwah tuan
  • Iffa Rai: Happy birthday
  • Haida Anuar: Happy birthday uncle!😍
  • Khatijah Surattee: Many happy returns of the day.
  • James Seah: Happy Birthday, AbangShaik Kadir. Wishing you happiness, good health and success in everything you do with blessings on this special day today and always. Selamat Hari Lahir!
  • At home with niece Fazillah Abdul Gaffa: “Happy birthday my dearest Mamu! May Allah continue to shower you with His love and care, and may you continue to be surrounded with an abundance of love!”

    With niece Fazillah Abdul Gaffa at my home: “Happy birthday my dearest Mamu! May Allah continue to shower you with His love and care, and may you continue to be surrounded with an abundance of love!”

  • Zainab Bee: Happy birthday baijan.
  • Nabisah Yusope: Happy Birthday to Shaik Kadir
  • Fatimah Bee: “The best thing mom and dad have done, is to give me a brother like you…Happy Birthday”
  • CT Mariam Mahmood: Happy Birthday Abg Kadir
  • Muhammad Hafidz Zainal Abidin: May your birthday be full of happy hours and special moments to remember for a long long time! Happy Birthday
  • Peerbhai Bhai: Happy Birthday, Bhaijan. May Allah bless you. Stay healthy always.
  • Faz Gaffa-Marsh: Happy birthday my dearest Mamu! May Allah continue to shower you with His love and care, and may you continue to be surrounded with an abundance of love! ❤❤
  • Munirah Shaik Kadir: (Studying in Sydney) Dearest Abah, Happy Birthday to you 🎂  May Allah bless you with good health, happiness and murah rezeki always. Thank you for everything that you have done for us ❤️ We love you lots ❤Enjoy your birthday celebrations 🎉 Please take care 💐
  • Fie Ismun: (From Sydney, via WhatsApp) Asalamwalaikum Abang Kadir. I would like to wish you a happy birthday.  Semoga di panjangkan umor dan murahkan rezeki alhamdulillah. Aamin
  • Suhaila Ghaffar: Happy Birthday Uncle Kadir from all of us! May u be blessed with good health and in faith
  • Nor Ain Saleha: Happy belated birthday Kadir. Blessings!
  • Mohamed Othman: Happy birthday Shaik. Semoga murah rezeki dan sentiasa menikmati rahmat Allah SWT.
  • Dhini Aqila: Happy birthday bp sheikh kadir Allah give health and protect you always amiiin
  • Karim Mastan: Happy birthday my bro in law n hope your little toe recovered fast
  • Jamaliah A. Aziz: Happy birthday Bro Shaik Kadir
  • Granddaughter Nur Iffah Muhd Imran (2 yrs 7 mths).

    Granddaughter Nur Iffah Muhammad Imran (2 yrs 7 mths).

  • Khairon Mastan: May Allah bless you with health and contentment
  • Shuhaila Sidik: Happy Birthday, Abah!
  • Shamira Abdul Majeed: (via WhatsApp) Oh dear! Mine was a dislocation and it was already so painful. Cant imagine yours that is broken!  Happy birthday and speedy recovery Mamu. No worries about the makan. We can go when you’re well. Take care.
  • Muhammad Hafidz Abdullah: (via WhatsApp) Salam, Encik Shaik Kadir. Happy Birthday.
  • Fred & Edie Dula: (From North Carolina, USA, via online card) Hope you have a very Happy Birthday
  • John Vijayan, Jawahir Mohamed, Zakariah Shariff, Wan Shamsiah and Sri Zuraida (from SSEAYP Family chat group)wishing Happy Birthday.
  • Azri Tan: Happy Birthday
  • Muhammad Fadhlullah:Happy belated birthday bro Shaik Kadir! May Allah bless u always!
  • Faezah Jonit:Happy Birthday Mamu Jan.
  • Prince Ruudi: Happy birthday Mr. Kadir
  • Thilaga Balakerishnan:  Happy Birthday uncle.
  • Joy Ho: Happy belated birthday, Uncle Kadir! May you be blessed with good health and happiness always.
  • Anita Ismun: (From Sydney, via WhatsApp) 🎂Happy birthday. Semoga Allah sentiasa panjang kan usia, murahkan rezeki, sehat sentiasa dan di berkati Allah. Allahumma Aamiin 🎂

My thanks are also due to all those who had indirectly wished me by “Liking” the postings made by others.

I too wish all those who had sent the greetings and those who had liked the postings by others many happy returns. May God bless you with good health and happiness.

To my Chinese friends, many of whom in the above list are converts to Islam, I wish them Happy New Year.  Gong Xi Fa Cai.

Shaik Kadir

30 January 2017

 

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Writers, bloggers and story-tellers meet to strengthen friendship

Writers, bloggers and story-tellers meet to strengthen friendship

 

Friendship goes beyond race and religion.  The all-time boxing great Muhammad Ali once said: “Friendship is the hardest thing in the world to explain. It’s not something you learn in school. But if you haven’t learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven’t learned anything.”

A group of people with experiences in various fields of occupation, though busy in their own field of interest, meet at least once a year to chat of current affairs, and of old times, exchange heritage matters and eat together.

The group has met at various places, often at eateries but the preference is the studio of Sitting-in-pictures, a film production company, located at Syed Alwi Road.

Yes, this time, 3 December (2016), only 10 friends met at the studio; the rest were either overseas or were engaged with some unavoidable work.  The potluck food was varied but engaging, all halal; the most appetising being the fish curry and puttu piring. There were also other mouth-watering foodstuff like fruit rojak and minced-mutton stew cooked by my wife that morning. The mouth was busy, both in munching and talking.

The glorious makan.

The glorious food, sedap makan.

The friends

Soh Kiak, Wee Kiat, James Kwok and Dick...

Soh Kiak, Wee Kiat, James Kwok and Dick…

...and Dick, Kadir, Victor and James Seah...

…and Dick, Shaik, Victor and James Seah…

...and Lina, Daisie, Dick and Wee Kiat...

…and Lina, Daisie, Dick and Wee Kiat…with Dick doing a hand-disappearing trick…

The most well-known figure in the group was Ms Chang Soh Kiak, a documentary film maker.  With a degree in Economics and Political Science, she became a current affairs producer for the then Singapore Broadcasting Corporation and remained in the TV industry ever since.

Ms Chang Soh Kiak.

Ms Chang Soh Kiak.

Soh Kiak, who straddles between Singapore and Melbourne, Australia, where she resides, is a co-founder of “Sitting in Pictures”, a Singapore-based production company formed in 2000. The company produces various genre of documentaries, including factual lifestyle, travel and adventure as well as science and history, which have appeared in such networks as the National Geographic channels, Discovery Channel, AETN and FremantleMedia, UK.

She said: “Although I have lived through various technologies from 16mm film to ENG cameras, HDcams, Internet TV, Mobile video apps, my main interest has remained constant – story telling.”

And this interest – visual story telling – is her mission in life.  It drives her towards making her next project the best one.

Another member of the group is Mr Dick Yip who is an ukulele teacher, player and performer. The ukulele is a musical instrument that looks like a small guitar.

Mr Dick Yip

Mr Dick Yip.

Dick, a retired senior education officer, holds the world record for “The Longest Ukulele Solo Marathon” of 32 hours non-stop play set in 2015 at the Marina Bay Sands.

Leader of an active band, Dick Yip & his Minstrels, Dick loves listening to music and songs. “I also play badminton, do swimming and fishing and gardening,” he said.

But Dick’s main passion is playing the ukulele. When he comes to my house for Hari Raya, he wouldn’t fail to bring his ukulele along to entertain us with songs like Bangawan Solo.

Dick blogs at: http://uncledicko.blogspot.sg/2009/04/rip-off-at-newton-hawker-centre-latest.html

Dick’s wife, Daisie, also plays the ukulele and is the Admin Manager of Dick Yip & his Minstrels Band.

Mrs Daisie Yip

Mrs Daisie Yip.

A retired Principal and School Superintendent, Mrs Yip is currently a part-time Lecturer and School Adviser for the National Institute of Education and the Ministry of Education.

Apart from gardening and cooking, she involves herself as a heritage guide.

Another friend in the group is Mr Victor Koo who is a retired civil servant.   His blog of nostalgia is at:  victorkoo.blogspot.sg.  But he quickly shies away from its mention and says: “It is dormant.  I’m quite busy and have no time to write.”

Mr Victor Koo

Mr Victor Koo.

Indeed his blog has taken a long rest.  The last entry was about bottle caps, “Old bottle caps of Singapore”, posted three years ago, in August 2013.

“But, I want to revive it,” he assured me as he drove, giving me a lift home.  “I must find time to do it.”  He would as can be discerned from his soft voice.

A rough voice was heard coming from the table a couple of metres away at our meeting place.  It was the voice of Mr James Kwok who is a life-skills coach (semi-retired), working with schools and mental wellness clinics.

James was imitating the voice of his favourite singer, Louis Armstrong.  With clenched-

Mr James Kwok.

Mr James Kwok.

like lips he sang Louis’ famous song “What a wonderful world” as Dick strummed his uke, a short form for ukulele.

James’ hobbies include reading and writing, but he is currently inactive as he looks after his grandchild.

He said, “I once had a blog, but I am too busy to maintain it,” and then, with an assuring Louis voice, he added, “It’s time to blog, but I shall start a new one.”

There is another James in the group.  He is Mr James Seah.

James, a retiree, does nostalgic blogging as a hobby.  He is a Singapore Memory Project Memory Corp volunteer and ‘Friends of Yesterday’.

Mr James Seah.

Mr James Seah.

James shares his fond memories and stories of Singapore of old times at: www.blogtoexpress.blogspot.com and https://thoughtmoments.me

About the subjects he writes in his blog, he said: “I document my personal memories to remember what Singapore was like in the past.  I wish to pass on these memories to my children and others.  I enjoyed writing about nostalgic moments.”

There is also a stamp lover in the group.  He is Dr Tan Wee Kiat.

A retired NIE lecturer, Dr Tan loves physical activities.  He swims and plays the harmonica.  But his passion is in Singapore stamps.

“I have published several small books, based on stamps,” he said rather humbly.  “These books serve to promote Singapore history and heritage among schoolchildren.”

Some of Dr Tan Wee Kiat's books, and a feature of him by Shaik Kadir in Berita Harian (2013)

Some of Dr Tan Wee Kiat’s books, and a feature of him by Shaik Kadir in Berita Harian (Feb 2013).

Wee Kiat’s latest book, published last year and translated in Malay, “Ikrar Kita – Singapore: Our Pledge”, is for children.  But, his stamp stories are also good for adults and stamp collectors.

I had the privilege to write two articles about Wee Kiat’s stamp books – in inSing.com, an online commercial magazine, titled “The stories behind stamps: Retired lecturer releases stamp book for Total Defence” on 13 February 2013; and in Berita Harian, a Malay national newspaper, titled “Setem alat susur sejarah” (Stamps are tools for uncovering history) on 15 February 2013.

Talking about books, I too have written books, 14 in all, most of them being exposition of Islam.  This is because I want to relate Islam’s structure and concept so that people of other religions would appreciate it and not think that the tiny number who are ignorant of Islam and commit atrocities in its name are not really following Islam. My latest, “Allah: Understanding God in Islam”, was published in June this year.

Books written by Shaik Kadir: Fiction, heritage as well as Islamic.

Books written by Shaik Kadir:  Fiction, heritage as well as Islamic.

Initially, I wrote general articles for magazines and The Straits Times and have written over 300 articles thus far, which I indexed them in a 12-volume album.

My interest in writing made me write fiction as well as an autobiographical (heritage) novel, “A kite in the evening sky”, which was set in Geylang Serai in the late 1950s and the 1960s. It was published twice by different publishers and became a school literature textbook at one time.

A retired senior lecturer at ITE College in communication skills, I am now taking care of one of my two grandchildren and blog whenever I find time to spare.  Mine is a general blog: https://readnreap.wordpress.com  (Fb: https://www.facebook.com/shaik.kadir.3 )

The sound of coarse and soft voices accompanied by that of the ukulele and guitar reverberated through a part of the studio’s external hall.

Beautifully ghostly stance of the gang.

Had thought of not using this photo but don’t worry. No ghosts are around.

The Strong Ten who make the function lively. While the men sit comfortably, the ladies are happy to be "framed": Lina, Soh Kiak, Daisie,Victor, Shaik, Dick, Wee Kiat, James Seah, James Kwok and Hun Ping. (Lina's and Hun Ping's profiles are unavailable at publication time.)

The Strong Ten who made the function lively. While the men sit comfortably, the ladies are happy to be “framed” on the wall:  (From left) Lina, Soh Kiak, Daisie,Victor, Shaik, Dick, Wee Kiat, James Seah, James Kwok and Hun Ping. (Lina’s and Hun Ping’s profiles are unavailable at publication time.)

The friendship we have established with the members gets strengthened further as we age.  We look forward to the next meeting, and till then, have a time nice time, friends.

Shaik Kadir

17 December 2016

Posted in General interest (Wide-ranging) | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

“This (second) kid on the next blog”: Adam Rayan

“This (second) kid on the next blog”:  Adam Rayan 

Who is “this (second) kid on the next blog” named Adam Rayan?

Well, Adam Rayan is my grandson.  The “first” kid, Nur Iffah Muhammad Imran, daughter of my son, Muhammad Imran Shaik Kadir and his wife, Shuhaila Sidik, has been featured in this blog in November. She is two and a half years old.

This “second” kid is Adam Rayan Dula whose mother, Munirah Shaik Kadir, is my daughter.  My son-in-law, Allen Dula, is an American whose parents and relatives live in North Carolina, USA.

Adam and his parents stay in Werrington, a suburb of Sydney, as my daughter is pursuing her third-year PhD education at the Australian Catholic University (Strathfield Campus).

The family visited us for six weeks last year and we miss him since then.

Like other grandparents we love our grandchildren – Iffah and Adam.  They call my wife “Nani” (Grandmother) and me “Atok” (Grandfather).

Since we did not have any physical contact with Adam for a year now, we headed to Sydney to be with him and his parents, not for many moons but for just 12 days, from 21 November.

The meeting and contact with Adam was a joy. We even had the opportunity to celebrate his third-year birthday.

The following photos tell more about him:

This photo-slide, previously shown in my Facebook, without any indication of who he is, is used again here to start off this photo-story titled “This (second) kid on the next blog: Adam Rayan”.

The above photo-slide, previously posted in my Facebook as an announcement of  this forth-coming story, is used again here to start off this story about Adam.

Adam’s smile and laughter

Adam: Before his first birthday…

Adam: Before his first birthday…

Adam as a growing up baby…

…and he is growing up fast…

Always active…

…and is always active…

…and loves playing outdoors.

…and loves the outdoor…

...in his various moods.

…and expresses his various moods.

Adam’s parents and Singapore grandparents 

A)With Adam are his parents, Allen Dula and Munirah Shaik Kadir, and his grandparents, Khairon Mastan and Shaik Kadir.

With Adam are his parents and grandparents: (From left) my son-in-law, Allen Dula, my wife, Khairon Mastan (“Nani” to Adam), Shaik Kadir (“Atok” to Adam) and our daughter, Munirah Shaik Kadir.

Adam’s Singapore relatives 

With Adam are (from left) Rashima Sidik; my son, Imran Shaik Kadir, my daughter-in-law, Shuhaila Sidik; and at the bottom row are Shuhaila’s father, Mr Sidik, his son-in-law, Zuhal, husband of Rashima, Mr Sidik’s eldest daughter, and his youngest daughter, Nur’aini Sidik. (A photo of the three sisters’ mother carrying Adam is unavailable.)

With Adam are (from left) Rashima Sidik; my son, Imran Shaik Kadir, my daughter-in-law, Shuhaila Sidik; and at the bottom row are Shuhaila’s father, Mr Sidik, his son-in-law, Zuhal, husband of Rashima, Mr Sidik’s eldest daughter, and his youngest daughter, Nur’aini Sidik. (A photo of the three sisters’ mother carrying Adam is unavailable.)

With Adam are (from left) my sister, Fatimah; her husband, Abdul Gaffar, their daughter, Fazillah, and their son-in-law, John, who is American.

With Adam are (from left) my sister, Fatimah; her husband, Abdul Gaffar, their daughter, Fazillah, and their son-in-law, John, who is American.

With his Singapore relatives: With Adam are (from left) my sister, Zainab; her daughter, Shamira, her daughter-in-law, Suriani, and son, Hamid.

With Adam are (from left) my sister, Zainab; her daughter, Shamira, daughter-in-law, Suriani, and son, Hamid.

With Adam are (from left) my wife’s sister, Jaiton; her nephew, Faisal, and her brother, Habib.

With Adam are (from left) my wife’s sister, Jaiton; nephew, Faisal, and brother, Habib.

Adam’s USA relatives 

With Adam are (from left) Granddad Fred (two photos), Edie and Lib (Allen’s mother).

With Adam are (from left) Granddad Fred (two photos), Edie and Lib (Allen’s mother).

With Adam are (from left) Judd (Allen’s aunt), Alson (Allen’s sister) and her husband, John; and Page (Allen’s brother) and his wife, Alison.

With Adam are (from left) Judd (Allen’s aunt), Alson (Allen’s sister) and her husband, John; and Page (Allen’s brother) and his wife, Alison.

Adam’s birthday party

At Wellington Lake Park: Adam’s Birthday Party in full swing.

At Werrington Lake Park:  Adam’s Birthday Party in full swing.

Kids getting ready for the birthday song and cake-cutting

Kids getting ready for the birthday song and cake-cutting

Well, taking group photos are a must....Hey! Where is the birthday boy?

Well, taking group photos seems to a must…but, where is the birthday boy?

Yes, where’s Adam?  

There he is, ahem, with a pretty girl, while Mr Azrin, hiding in the bush, captures the romantic scene with his phone camera. Looks like Adam and Aaaliya are doing a Bollywood dance - squatting, turning and ready to chase each other around a tree!

There he is, ahem, with a pretty girl, Aaliya.  Mr Azrin, hiding in the bushes, managed to capture the scene with his phone camera. Looks like Adam and Aaliya are doing a Bollywood dance – squatting, turning and ready to chase each other around a tree!

Outing to the city

A)An outing to the city by train. (From left) with Adam at the Wellington Station; inside the double-decker train and in a two-carriage light train, and with the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge in the background.

(From left) at the Werrington Station; inside the double-decker train to go to the  Central Station; in a two-carriage light rail to go to Paddy’s Haymarket and photos of us with the Opera House (from the ferry) and the Harbour Bridge in the background (from Darling Harbour area).

More kisses and hugs from grandparents

More kisses and hugs for “tomorrow we return to Singapore”.

More kisses and hugs from “Nani” and “Atok”  for “tomorrow we return to Singapore”.

A sad parting

Moment of parting has arrived: It’s sad to leave him as Adam has already become so attached to us, but, as always, my wife and I would talk to him via Facetime at least three times a week when we leave Sydney on 2 December after 12 days of fun and warmth with Adam and his parents.

The moment of parting arrives.  It’s sad to leave Adam as he has already become so attached to my wife and me.

The 12 days flew away fast, and soon we had to leave Adam.  It was sad indeed.  At the Sydney Airport, Adam cried when he sensed that we were leaving him, and his father had to distract him and leave us; only my daughter came with us right up to the gate of the departure hall.

Since we arrived in Singapore, as previously, we have been contacting Adam three or four times a week via Facetime to “be” with him, and, on seeing us, he would excitedly call us “Nani” and “Atok”.

Shaik Kadir

14 December 2016

Posted in Adam's Day | Tagged , | 1 Comment