It may be a dream afraid of waking up, or it may be a dream coming to realization in the next morning.

Saturday, July 30, 2011


Ramadan is coming again. I have written in my last Ramadhan post that I am nervous about my performance in this month. It only comes once per year and the feeling like you are not taking full advantage of the month, is like a feeling failure.

Speaking of a feeling of failure, I am reminded by my another "failure." Being a social worker is hard, and it requires you to have a high level of courage to advocate for your client. When you are working at a place where you are required to be passionate about it, as in working in a shelter home for the elderly, or an institution for orphans, in a juvenile rehab center, etc. You are required to look at your job as more than a job, because it is not. It is about helping the target group who is the reason why the institution exists in the first place.

Some public servants are very apathetic towards their job and many of them have the as-long-as-I-finish-my-job attitude. And this, I observe, cause them to want to settle down in their own comfort zone and will distress over having to do extra work. Unfortunately (or not), extra works are like a part of being a social worker because being a social worker requires you to have extra passion in what you are doing.

I have nothing more to say, other than, I was being warned because I referred a sick resident to get a medical attention. No, it's a simple job, everyone could do that, but because this resident lives in an institution, letters and documents have to be filed, and this is what they all want to avoid doing. Or maybe it's because of another reason why they have such attitude. I don't know. Whatever it is, it disappoints me.

Anyways, in this occasion, I would like to wish every Muslim a better Ramadan. A Ramadan where we fix the glitch in our personality, the errors in our slavery to Him, and the mistakes we made to others. I wish the best especially for residents in any welfare institutions.

Monday, July 25, 2011

We Are All Lonely

Some say that loneliness is a disease. It is so dangerous that because of that various other problems might ensue. Today I had an interesting chat where I found out that without them being connected, three people I spoke with share a common worry of being lonely.

1) A is a government servant who has been working at Penang for 12 years and has settled down a family live in this state as well. However, he has been promoted and will be posted to another state at another extreme side of Malaysia, Johor. He is excited about it, but he is concerned about how he'll cope living alone without his family.

2) B is also a government servant who has passed his prime age of working. However, although not in his retirement age, he is observed to be very well suited to be in life supported by his children. I wondered if it was about being independent and living on what he made. No, he kept working because he thought if he didn't, he'd stay alone at home and the feeling of loneliness might hurt him.

3) C is a teenager who has the habit of adding every girl he knows in his life (and send them flirty messages too, regardless they have a boyfriend) in his Facebook friends list. He is a resident in a juvenile rehab center and he said one of the way to cope with feeling isolated from friends who were all outside was to get the comfort from the idea that the girls might find him handsome and would like to get to know him better.

You see, all of these three people with whom I had a conversation with were married, popular among friends, never would have struck as the kind of person who might feel lonely in his life. So, I was thinking, if we all feel lonely at some point (if not all) of our lives, what makes some of us more vulnerable to the danger of loneliness?

Perhaps it has something to do with the way we adjust to being alone. Do we look at being alone as loneliness or as solitariness? Do we appreciate the time we have for ourselves or do we just want to get out from companyless time as soon as possible? Maybe after all just like beauty, being alone is in the heart of the beholder.

Sunday, July 17, 2011


I used to have a conversation with a resident at juvenile rehabilitation center where I am doing my practicum now and I asked, "Where do your parents live?" And what broke my heart was that he gently and awkwardly smile and answered, "They are divorced..."

You see, I would like to make a point in this entry and it is about the children who are sent to a "warehouse" like this center because they are "uncontrollable." Now answer this question, what constitutes "uncontrollable"? It is when your children throw a tantrum when they are not given what they want? Or when they run around and break a vase? Or when they go out with their friends until late night? Or when they talk back after you? No, these are the things that children normally do. And guess what, these are enough reasons to make the parents send their children off to this juvenile rehabilitation center.

I am not sure if I am making an immature conclusion but from what I have seen in my 2-month practicum, these children, or these teenagers act like normal teenagers. Of course some of them did some serious offence like robbing multiple houses as their criminal career, or being an addict, but let's say, the teenagers who are sent off here for this form around 40% of the whole community and the rest is all here because they are being "uncontrollable."

I do not dislike this place. In fact, it does a great job at teaching these children that every wrongdoing has a consequence (which can go too far), and these children's religious and cultural values are also strengthened. But I feel a bit disappointed at the parents who take the easy way of sending their children off to this center just because their children do not know the appropriate way of talking with their parents.

Of course I'm not a parent yet, and I can never begin to imagine the hassle of being a parent, but I'm living close enough with two sisters and a brother who all have children and their children sometimes are acting like these. It is what I call as being a child. If you're a child, you can't help but to see and perceive things and want the world to see and perceive things the way you do, and when you and the world have the different way of doing things, you might burst out. It's being a child. When you are giving birth to a child, it is pertinently your responsibility to balance off a bucket full of oil (a phrase from Malay language, "menatang minyak yang penuh" which means to educate and raise your child with love).

Spending times with them at a trip really open my eyes how much they need supports from the people they love. They are these wonderful beings who are not perfect. Many from these children witness their parents getting a divorce and they don't know how to respond to the fact that they are no longer going to be in the same home. So, they break out and break away from home and do stuffs that make them feel a little bit calmer like using drugs or picking a fight. It's called being a child.

I'm sure that every child has a pattern and if you, as their parent, take time to understand that, you will realize that your children can very much be very promising and have a bright future.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Mysterious Love

Love is a very mysterious emotion. It is high, it is low, it is helpless, it is hopeful, it is sexual, it is non-sexual, it is big, it is small, it is humane, it is materialistic. What love is makes up the whole world. That is what great about love. The feeling is so small, but very persistent that it slowly builds up in a platform (or what humans call as 'heart') until it is big enough for the feeling to be shared around the world.

Try to imagine, if not without the love of power and his people, how did Julius Caesar become one of the historical world's most powerful leaders? If not without the love of her children, how does a mother carry them around nine months in her womb? If not without the love of her students, how did Erin Gruwell manage to establish a strong organization, Freedom Writers Organization, that was based from a small class that was filled with hatred and racism? If not without the love of his lover, how is a man able to wait for his half across time and space?

Love is so visible yet so stealthy. Sometimes, love can be an unrequited thing in that it always appears without any supposed conditions and requirements. It is with its independent conjuring. It doesn't matter if you're old or young, poor or wealthy, good or less decent, love can come without any warning. And many times too, when it appears in a surprise, it leaves us wounded and hurt, especially when it goes away. Very far away.

Where does this put us anyway? The thing about love is that, it makes us passionate about someone or something, but love is not passionate with anything itself. It doesn't matter if it comes to the right or to the wrong person, it is not pertinent if it is attached to the good or evil, it just has to be somewhere. I guess this is one very question that can never be answered very truthfully: How do we know when a love is wrong? How can we be so sure when a love is right?

But no matter what is, one thing I am sure: 
Loving someone is human. 
So, I guess, we just have to cherish it when it comes.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


My friend and I were searching for a theory that could be a basis for her thesis writing for her degree and we stumbled upon a theory that seemed to be very abstract and pointless at first, but offered a realistic view of human deviance. Strain Theory talks about how strains that humans experience in social structure, and how the interplay between socio-economic status and the resources to the attainment of social goals can very strongly influence people to resort to the wrongdoing.

Let me simplify it, people do bad things because sometimes they believe it's the only way to achieve a certain goal at that particular time. Doing my practicum at a conduct rehabilitation center, although every resident's story is different, but almost all stories share a common theme; they commit a crime in order to achieve something. Very rarely did they commit a crime because they felt like it, because of a hobby. When they realized that these illegitimate means of attaining their goals could be very fruitful, they settled with the comfort and experience and kept doing it for the outcome.

Try to think about it, if you see a case of juvenile delinquency, blaming the youth for the wrongdoing is not doing anyone any good. I ask myself, why would they resort to crime, knowing very well the possible consequences they might face? I believe the answer lies in the system. Try to answer these questions and then we might be a step closer to understanding juvenile delinquency in Malaysia.

1) Why do some people enjoy certain opportunities like education and some others don't?
2) In what ways does the Government make efforts to identify people with the unfulfilled basic needs?
3) Should we make education free in Malaysia?
4) Should we make basic utilities like water and electricity free in Malaysia?
5) Etc.

All of these questions show us how big of a role strains play in influencing a human's life. Basic needs, especially education is supposed to be easily available to every citizen in Malaysia. For me, the most practical solution in solving any problem, including juvenile delinquency, is education.