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

Monday, October 17, 2011


So, I had an interesting experience debating very very briefly with some guys on a page in Facebook about jealousy and it stands in Islam. The original status said that if you were a good slave of God, you would not have even an ounce of feeling of jealousy because you would always be grateful with what you got. Yes, at face value, it is true, but the more I think about it, I guess we can see it from another perspective.

I started to think about it when a comment of that status said it was wrong because somehow the poster related jealousy with envy. So, let me ask you, is jealousy really envy? And then, on top of that, another poster said that jealousy is greed. So, let me ask you another obvious question, is jealousy really greed? Is jealous on the same zip code of envy and greed. For me, it is, but what differentiates my opinion and the status is that jealousy is not really all black. For me, there is "white" about jealousy.

Now, of course you have to be grateful with everything you have got, but do you have to be settled for it? No. You can feed your family with your daily income. Your family need $20 a day to survive, and you gain $20 to give them. Yes, be grateful, at least it's not below $20, but do you really have to be just grateful? Why can't you look at people around you who are better than you and be jealous of them, then want to achieve the better state that they achieve. You don't want to just be settled with $20, you want to be able to give your family more.

Now, another issue, is wanting more greed? Yes, I suppose. But is it a bad greed? No, I don't think so. If I were to use an Islamic example, Islam always asks us to be "greedy" for His mercy and blessings. So, why can't we be greedy on a better state of life, just as we are greedy to be a better slave of God?

For me, what is bad is simple. Jealousy, envy, and greed become bad when you believe that you should be on top of everyone and no other people should achieve the same way you do. And when people do, you start to do something bad to them that can make them fall down, or at the very least, you wish them to go down. To achieve for a better state does not belong to a specific person or group of people, everybody deserves to have a better state of life. In order to have that you need to be jealous of, envious for, and greedy for it. But in order to keep you humble and down-to-earth, you also need to have a good amount of gratitude in your heart.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Free Will Is A Limited Resource

When I was reading this book, "30-Second Psychology", I was intrigued by this one particular theory about willpower that was developed by Roy Baumeister that is called as Ego Depletion. This theory asserts that freewill is a resource that is limited and can be exhaustible. A study performed to see how long the participants could skip the delicious chocolate cookies placed on a table while asked to just eat a piece or two of radishes that were also there. Three groups were introduced: a group that did not have eating requirement, a group that was asked to only eat the radishes and skip the cookies, and the third group who was allowed to eat the cookies and skip the radishes.

In the same time, all participants were instructed to do a puzzle and told that they could quit anytime they want. The results showed that the group who was asked to skip the cookies quit the puzzle earlier than the other two groups. The researchers explained this that free will is limited by attributing it to the participants' report on being tired on having to keep resisting the cookies.

So, related to this, what should we say about ourselves? I would like to comment on the media in the modern world, at which advertisements on scrumptious unhealthy foods, sexual symbols, and many more are viewed before our eyes everyday. At the same time, obesity, eating disorder, rape cases, teenage pregnancy, and many more issues are increasing day by day. Can I safely say that these issues and the advertisements are positively related then? Based on this research, both might.

At this point, I honestly do not know for sure to whom we can place the burden of the issue. Is it really the parents? The media? The government? I guess it's all of them. But, perhaps more accurately is the individuals themselves who need to exercise the strength of their free will because the researchers reported although free will is exhaustible, practice can help an individual resistance to temptation stronger. But it's not easy as it sounds, is it?

Monday, October 3, 2011


Today I had a conversation with two of my friends where we argue about how far our family could go to accept us. One side argued that no matter how dark, how deep, and how sinful/immoral what you have been hiding is, your family will accept you. But, another side (which was me), said that acceptance has its limit. No matter how a person is our family, his or her ground would be shaken if something is strong enough to shake it - which could result in a broken floor.

What do you think? Will your family still accept you if you used to, for example, um, (...searching for an example of a terrible secret) murdered someone? That you are a murderer? Or if have been having an affair with your sister's brother (or your brother's sister)? I know that my examples are too dramatic. But let's say you keep one of these secrets, will you be able to still stand by your family?

There is one case of sex reassignment case in Terengganu that was heatedly talked about recently by bloggers and major newspapers. No, I'm not here to argue if it is wrong or right, or if it is immoral. I was intrigued by the person's mother reaction toward his decision to change his sex. His mother gave a clear consent about the whole issue and supported her son all way long.

This is one example how families could go to great length to accept us. But for me, it is just one example. Maybe the mother in this case came from a liberal family, or maybe she had been exposed to a more opened world, or any other factors that could lead her to react positively like that. But for some other families, I am sure their reaction would be brutal.

But this one I am sure - no matter how lost you feel and confused you become, the one sure place you can always go back to is your family.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Many Words for Love

A psycholinguistic theory asserts that the more prevalent something is in a culture, the more nouns are available to describe that thing. For example, if you ever heard about this, Eskimos have many words of snow that can describe snow in its different forms. I don't know what those words are, but apparently, their daily experience with snow makes them be able to appreciate snow more deeply than us.

Snow is not my point here, my point is the word "love." How many words in English that describe "love"? Fondness? Passion? Care about? I don't think so. But in Malay language, we have quite a few words that can describe "love," such as:

1) Cinta
2) Sayang
3) Kasih
4) Maybe suka?

What does this mean? Does this mean love is more prevalent in Malay culture than the English-speaking cultures? I don't think so, or at least it cannot be confirmed yet as so. I think this is a great language research that can tell us something about Malay culture that might be interesting.