Sunday, February 27, 2011

My People - Add your voice to the Call with Yusuf Islam!

My People - Add your voice to the Call!

Dear Friends,

If you wish to take part in adding your voice to support people around the world still dreaming of being unshackled from harsh authoritarian regimes, you will soon have a chance to do so.

Yusuf has written a song which is inspired by the world shaking call to freedom and the removal of oppression from the peoples of Tunisia and Egypt, the song called My People will soon be available and you’ll be able to send a recording of your voice to be used on the chorus – God Willing.

If you would like to join in, listen to the chorus here (choose one of the 3 part harmony samples) and send an MP3/ Wav or Aiff of you singing the words, “MY PEOPLE” (no background noise, please) to:

mypeople@yusufislam.ae

To Download Yusuf’s MP3 Sample to your computer right click and select ‘Download Linked File’

We will try to use as many submissions as possible. The deadline for receiving your contribution will be Tuesday 15th February, 3pm GMT.

SPREAD THE WORD TO ALL YOUR FRIENDS!




Jom Revolusi!

(Berita Minggu 27 Februari 2011)

Cerpen : Jom Revolusi!

Oleh : Fudzail

(1)

Damak terus menatap skrin TV. Tidak henti Aljazeera membawa lintas langsung dari Kaherah, Tunis, Tripoli, Benghazi, Sanaa, Manama, Tehran, Khartoum, Amman, Muscat berselang seli pendapat dan perbahasan. Hangat mengenai apa yang sedang menjadi gelombang yang lebih hebat dari tsunami tahun 2004 dahulu.

Dunia sedang mengalami perubahan yang tidak terfikir menjelang tahun 2011. Semuanya adalah sebahagian dari evolusi dan ulangan dari sejarah kemanusiaan. Semuanya telah dijanjikan dalam Al Quran dan hadis kalau rajin untuk mengkaji dan memahami yang semuanya menuju ke hari terakhir kehidupan sementara.

Deringan telefon memeranjatkan dalam perhatian sepenuhnya pada persitiwa dan sejarah yang berlaku di hadapan mata. Kejatuhan Zainal Abidin Ali dan Hosni Mubarak merebak dan menjalar.

“Baik tangguhkan kunjungan ke Benghazi, keadaan nampaknya semakin gawat, empat puluh orang telah terbunuh!”

Suara Dr. Fawzy bergetar di hujung sana, di Benghazi, kota kedua terbesar Libya. Damak dijadulkan untuk membuat presentasi produk autopsi digital untuk khidmat forensik di hospital. Sesuatu yang amat diperlukan ketika itu, ketika bilangan yang terbunuh terus meningkat dan pembedahan forensik diperlukan.

“Saya belum tidur selama dua hari ini, terlalu banyak mayat yang mesti diselanggarakan!”

Kata-kata itu membuatkan Damak memandang jauh ke arah kota raya Dubai yang terus bergerak lancar, bisnes seperti biasa. Pengagihan sumber hasil negara kepada rakyat menyebabkan demokrasi tidak selalu perlu selagi perut semua orang tidak kelaparan dan ada tempat untuk berlindung dari hujan dan panas.

“Robot saya akan berbincang dengan robot kamu untuk presentasi berikutnya apabila keadaan pulih sepeti biasa, tetapi penyelesaian autopsi digital amat yang menepati syariah berfaedah untuk ummah terutama dalam keadaan perang dan kekacaun seperti ini. Kita tetap meneruskan agenda ini!”

Dr Fawzy sempat berjenaka, topik kegemarannya mengenai keperluan robot untuk melakukan kerja-kerja manusia. Termasuk menggantikan manusia untuk kerja-kerja monotonous, berbahaya sertai jurujual, mekanik, pengesan bom dan membedah mayat. Memerdekakan, liberasikan manusia untuk menikmati kehidupan lebih baik tanpa bekerja keras!

Malah Damak sama berminat dengan teknologi ‘tele-mesyuarat maya’ yang tidak memerlukan dia terbang ke sana sini, hanya menghantar robot sahaja. Apalagi dikatakan dari sebuah penyelidikan, hampir 500 billion Dollar dibelanjakan untuk penerbangan urusan bisnes setiap tahun. Itu tidak termasuk kos pminyak, pengeluaran sisa karbon dioksid, berjam-jam dalam kesesakan trafik dan meninggalkan keluarga berhari-hari.

Tiba-tiba deringan telefon mengejutkan sekali lagi, setelah terpaku menonton siaran berita Al Jazeera menayangkan ratusan ribu bersolat jumaat di Medan Tahrir bersama Dr Yusuf Al Qaradawi. Meraikan liberasasi sebuah negara.

“Jangan lupa, dalam keadaan biasa pun permintaan dan penggunaan sarung tangan untuk perubatan pun tidak mencukupi, apalagi dalam perang dan kekacauan!”

Kata-kata Dr. Fazwy itu mengulang perbincangan mengenai peluang bisnes yang memutarkan kitaran idea di benak fikiran. Sesuatu yang menganjak minda dalam jiwa, seakan sama bergolak dengan para warga yang keluar di jalan-jalan raya memprostes untuk mengembalikan hak-hak mereka di negara sendiri.

(2)

“Kamu anak penoreh getah?”

Pertanyaan Dr Fawzy bergema di ruang hotel mewah Abu Dhabi. Pertemuan di sebuah konvesyen forensik yang memulakan satu persahabatan, hanya selang beberapa hari sebelum warga Tunisia keluar memprotes dan mengubah satu landskap politik sejagat. Ketika tiada siapa menduga yang percubaan membunuh diri seorang pemuda Tunisia membawa revolusi melalui siber dan menjatuhkan satu rejim diktator.

Damak mengangguk dan bercerita. Sebagai anak penoreh yang mengharung pelbagai kemanisan dan kepahitan bersama satu keluarga yang pernah hidup dibawah taraf kemiskinan, masa lalu sering membawa nostalgia, kalau tidak memberi semangat. Sesuatu yang tidak mungkin kembali dilalui oleh anak-anaknya sendiri. Anak-anak kelahiran pelbagai negara tumpangan sebagai ekspatriat yang mungkin tidak tahu pokok getah berasal dari Amazon sebelum dibawa ke Tanah Melayu, walau menggunakan khidmat laman web Amazon setiap hari.

Damak tidak lupa catatan sejarah yang getah dibawa masuk dalam tahun 1877 setelah Sir Henry Wickham pada tahun 1876 telah mengumpul dan mengirim 70,000 biji getah liar dari Brazil ke Kebun Kew, London. Begitulah Tuhan menghantar rahmat dan rezeki dalam keadaan tidak terduga.

“Harga getah semakin naik kerana permintaan tinggi, termasuk untuk pengeluaran sarung tangan perubatan. Kamu tahu tahun 2011 ini sahaja dunia memerlukan sekurangnya 155 billion sarung tangan getah?”

Suasana di luar persidangan, seperti biasa, lebih menarik kerana peluang beramah mesra dan berkenalan dengan pelbagai pakar forensik yang mahu mengalihkan tumpuan dari bau dan pelbagai keadaan mayat. Berdiskusi mengenai apa sahaja, terutama peluang lain di luar skop bidang kerjaya yang semakin kekurangan tenaga kerana tidak glamor bekerja membedah mayat. Lebih baik membedah orang hidup yang mahu jadi cantik secara kosmetik dengan menambah silikon dan pengawet muda seperti botoks. Lebih membawa pulangan lumayan dan menambahkan kekayaan.

Damak teringat pada aruah ayah dan ibunya, dua penoreh getah yang telah membesarkan kelima adik beradiknya. Sememangnya pokok getah, susu getah, asid formik, mesin penggelek, rumah asap, getah asap keping berbunga, lateks menjadi sebahagian dari kehidupan yang membawa dia jauh ke bumi Arab. Membawa seorang anak kampung pedalaman Pahang ke serata dunia.

Keringat penoreh getah yang sama memakmurkan negara yang baru merdeka, walau mereka pada ketika itu berkorban dalam kemiskinan. Rezeki dari getah menjadikan adik beradik Damak lebih berjaya dalam pelbagai bidang, malangnya tiada diantara mereka yang mempunyai apa-apa kaitan dengan pokok getah lagi. Pengusaha getah yang berjaya bermula dari orang Barat kepada bangsa lain di Tanah Melayu. Dunia pokok getah menjadi memori yang semakin menjauh di arkib minda.

“Untung kalaulah pokok getah boleh ditanam di Libya!”

Mereka ketawa. Begitulah ketentuan Ilahi, Tanah Melayu diberikan rahmat alam dan kemakmuran tidak terhingga. Boleh dikatakan benih apa sahaja boleh tumbuh subur. Selain kehijauan yang membawa warna ketenangan dan hutan-hutan yang membawa hujan sebagai pusingan proses semula jadi.

“Tidak berminat untuk usahakan penanaman pokok getah? Kamu tentu tahu, negara-negara Arab yang ketandusan tanah subur membeli jutaan hektar tanah seluruh dunia untuk pertanian, memastikan bekalan rakyat mereka cukup dan harga diparas kemampuan?”

Pertanyaan Dr. Fawzi menambahkan nostalgia pada masa lalu dan tanahair buat Damak. Sudah dua puluh tahun menjadi ekspatriat merata planet dan dalam usia semakin menuju kepersaraan, sering timbul keinginan untuk kembali seperti masa lalu. Mendiami sebuah desa terpencil untuk kembali berbakti pada tanah dan alam. Meneruskan sisa-sisa nafas beribadah. Malah tanah pusaka yang masih ada pun sudah lama dia tidak menjenguk, terbiar oleh kesibukan adik beradik yang telah berjaya dari segi pendidikan dan materialisme. Prioriti kehidupan juga berlainan. Tiada jalan kembali.

“Pertanian selamanya penting kerana manusia sentiasa memerlukan makanan dan tanaman seperti pokok getah, pokok kelapa sawit menghasilkan produk yang diperlukan dalam pelbagai bidang dan peralatan. Bayangkan tanpa getah, kereta tidak boleh digunakan tanpa tayar. Dan sekarang, bekalan sarung tangan getah untuk perubatan tidak cukup dengan permintaan tinggi seluruh dunia!”

“Kalau buka kilang pengeluaran sarung tangan di Libya?”

“Boleh sahaja, tetapi setiap kilang perlukan bahan mentah, iaitu getah! Dan getah hanya dari pokok getah, yang tiruan tidak dapat ganti yang asli, yang original! Cuma harus ingat yang tidak mudah bersaing dengan syarikat-syarikat Malaysia sendiri yang sudah lama beroperasi dan memonopoli pasaran!”

“Kalau tidak boleh tanam pokok getah di tanah gurun, kita cuba di Afrika yang cuaca dan iklim sesuai. Seperti ada syarikat Malaysia lakukan di Indonesia. Boleh bekalkan getah kepada kilang kerana dari permintaan global melonjak sehingga 10 peratus setiap tahun, walaupun pemain industri merundum. Libya boleh jadi hab untuk Afrika dan Eropah!”

Dr. Fawzy tersenyum menggeleng kepala.

“Kamu seolah-olah tidak mahu pulang ke tanahair sendiri....!”

Mereka tertawa, semenjak perbualan di konvensyen forensik itu, keinginan Damak untuk meneroka bumi utara Afrika terutama Libya terus melonjak. Mungkin kerana kesan menonton filem Umar Mokhtar, Singa Gurun yang begitu berkesan.

“Jangan lupa, Libya masih diperintah oleh seorang manusia bernama Muammar Ghadafi semenjak 43 tahun lalu!”

Suara Dr. Fawzy sedikit perlahan.

“Dan dia bukan Umar Mukhtar!”

(3)

Cuti tahun baru Cina di Malaysia yang panjang memungkinkan Jamak, adik bongsu Damak bersama keluarga datang bercuti di Dubai. Pertama kali sejak Damak berpindah dari Jeddah. Mahu melancung melihat kota raya Dubai yang sedang terkenal dengan Burj Khalifa, menara tertinggi di dunia.

“Inilah hasil pendapatan sebulan menoreh getah!”

Damak terkejut mendengar kata-kata Jamak yang merancang membawa anak-anaknya main ski di gurun Dubai. Manakala Rahah, isterinya sudah merancang bersama Gina, isteri Damak untuk membeli belah sempena Festival Membeli-Belah dan mengunjung pelbagai kompleks termasuk Kampung Global. Kampung di gurun yang mempunyai 31 pavilion negara, termasuk Malaysia. Walaupun pavilion Malaysia hanya ada sedikit produk dari Malaysia dan dipenuhi gerai-gerai barangan negara China.

“Bila pula kau menjadi penoreh getah?”

Jamak ketawa. Setahu Damak, adik yang berusia 45 tahun itu adalah pegawai tinggi kerajaan berpangkat pengarah dan dikatakan berpotensi mengetuai sebuah jabatan persekutuan. Sedang menyambung pengajian diperingkat kedoktoran di sebuah universiti tempatan.

“Baharu lima bulan, ambil cuti tanpa gaji untuk sambung belajar, sambil itu jadi penoreh getah sambilan untuk pendapatan sampingan. Kerja tiga kali seminggu di kawasan ladang yang dipajak. Bukan susah, kecil-kecil dulu pun selalu menoreh dengan aruah ayah dan ibu!”

“Kamu tahu dengan kenaikan harga getah sekarang, pendapatan aku melebih gaji sebagai pengarah jabatan kerajaan. Itupun kerja tiga kali seminggu. Aku boleh dapat sekurangnya RM10 ribu bersih sebulan. Malah lebih dari itu kalau dikira dari hasil memajak ladang lain, dengan mengupah orang Bangla dan Indonesia!”

Damak teruja mendengar kata-kata Jamak yang menggamit siri diskusi emel, sembang atas talian dan SMS dengan Dr. Fawzy. Bak kata seorang kawan yang selalu bersikap positif dalam apa sahaja keadaan, ‘sesuatu yang terjadi ada sebab musabab dan ada hikmahnya!’.

“Lagipun sekarang banyak subsidi, geran dan pinjaman untuk mengusahakan pertanian. Ramai yang nampaknya tidak berselera untuk jadi petani, penoreh, peladang, pekebun. Sedangkan di banyak negara seperti Kanada, Amerika, Australia, New Zealand, ramai jutawan tani!”

Siapa sangka, anak penoreh getah yang dahulunya mahu keluar dari kepompong pokok getah, berjaya dalam akademik, dengan kerjaya yang boleh sampai ke kemuncak dalam organisasi kerajaan, boleh kembali turun menoreh.

“Silap-silap aku terus ambil pencen awal walau sudah ada PhD. Mahu usahakan kembali penanaman pokok getah sambil berehat dari pelbagai politik pejabat yang semakin menambahkan cepat mendapat sakit jantung dan penyakit kronik lain. Kau tahulah budaya dan perangai orang-orang kita yg juga dipenuhi PhD, perasaan hasad dengki, tidak boleh tengok ada orang lebih berjaya kerana berkebolehan, bukan kerana ampu dan bodek!”

“Bagaimana dengan Rahah? Dia tidak malu kah suaminya jadi penoreh getah?”

Jamak ketawa. Sememangnya Damak kurang senang dengan isteri Jamak yang suka bermewahan, seolah-olah seorang datin. Stail ‘queen control’ yang menonjolkan kekuasaan dalam segala hal rumah tangga, sehingga pelbagai cerita mengenai kecemburuan Rahah dikalangan adik beradik.

“Malu? Dengan pendapatan yang lebih dari jadi jawatan pengarah, dan banyak masa di rumah dari habiskan masa bekerja di luar, dia sudah terlalu tua untuk berfikiran negatif. Malah dengan pendapatan yang bertambah, dia bimbang pula kalau-kalau dimadukan!”

Keduanya ketawa. Kalimat tipikal untuk lelaki normal walau sekadar jenaka.

Ketawa yang mengundang perhatian Rahah dan Gina di dapur. Keduanya muncul di ruang tamu. Segera Damak dan Jamak menyambung cerita mengenai getah.

“Abang tahu ke penoreh getah dan pelajar Phd ini bakal bergelar datuk?”

Gina bertanya ke arah Damak. Manakala Rahah menunjukkan wajah berseri, sinar kebanggaan dan riak.

“Siapa anak kau yang nak kahwin? Bukan si Mazidah dan Norizan masih di universiti?”

Tanya Damak dengan wajah terkejut.

“Apalah abang ini, Jamak baharu dapat surat penganugerahan pingat membawa gelaran datuk!”

Malam itu, Damak semakin dalam nostalgia. Jauh ke ruang masa lalu sebagai penoreh getah setiap pagi sebelum ke sekolah. Dan menerpa wajah-wajah kedua aruah ayah dan ibunya apabila hujan turun berhari-hari, dapur tidak berasap, bersama bertimbunnya hutang di kedai runcit Cina.

(4)

Kabar angin mengenai Hosni Mubarak berada di Abu Dhabi tersebar luas, walau ada penafian kerajaan UAE. Sesuatu yang beriya-iya dibicarakan oleh Dr. Fawzy sebaik tiba di KLIA. Baginya, Muammar Ghadafi yang masih bertahan akan mengikut jejak yang sama, hanya masa menentukan.

Damak memandu perlahan menuju ke hotel penginapan berhampiran KLCC. Demonstrasi penggunaan autopsi digital yang dibangunkan oleh sebuah syarikat Malaysia akan dibuat di HKL. Dr. Fawzy mahu melihat secara langsung sebelum membuat keputusan sama ada mahu membuat tindakan selanjutnya. Walau dia ada tujuan lain yang lebih prioriti untuk pertama kali menjejak semenanjung Tanah Melayu.

“Mana pokok getah?”

Dr. Fawzy memandang keliling dari dalam kereta. Damak ketawa.

“Pokok getah di ladang, sepanjang lebuhraya ini, tiada lagi ladang getah. Hanya pembangunan hartanah!”

“Kena buat revolusi!”

Sekali lagi Damak ketawa. Deretan revolusi yang sedang berlaku di tanah Arab seakan menguasai pemikiran Dr. Fawzy. Dalam catatan sejarah, revolusi memungkinkan kehidupan yang lebih baik, walau ada pertumpahan darah dan kehilangan nyawa. Mereka yang berkorban demi kesejahteraan dunia akan terus mengulang kitaran revolusi.

“Ya! Revolusi hijau!”

Damak terhenti dari ketawa.

“Kamu tahu, saya sempat melihat statistik harga getah, tahun 2005 antara RM2.50 ke RM3.00, tahun 2006 ke paras RM3.00, tahun 2006 dan 2007, sekitar RM4.00, tahun 2008 ke RM5.00, tahun 2009 turun ke RM4.00 dan tahun lalu, ke paras RM10.00!”

Damak terus mendengar. Semua maklumat itu pernah diberitahu oleh Jamak yang sedang menanti di hotel. Dunia juga beralih ke arah ‘kehidupan hijau’ untuk memastikan planet tanpa bencana seperti tsunami,kepupusan ozon, selain bencana dalam bentuk penyakit berwabak.

“Menurut lapuran mereka yang terlibat dengan perladangan kayu getah pula, pulangan keuntungan dari pelaburan kayu getah sahaja adalah sekitar 12.8 peratus. Dengan kombinasi pengeluaran lateks dalam kitaran 15 tahun, pulangannya 13.7 peratus yang sebanding dengan minyak kelapa sawit, iaitu 15.6 peratus! Malah industri kayu getah untuk perabut menghampiri RM7 bilion tahun lalu!”

Suara Dr. Fawzy yang begitu teruja menambahkan minat Damak yang sama-sama teruja semenjak kembali menjenguk tanah pusaka bersama ‘Datuk’ Jamak. Suara bergetar seorang ahli forensik yang mahu keluar dari Libya dan keluar dari monotonous ruang rumah mayat.

“Apalagi dengan industri herba dan produk halal. Lantas saya sudah nekad bawa duit simpanan yang ada untuk pelaburan dalam ladang pokok getah dan kilang sarung tangan getah, selain perabut kayu getah. Kamu tahu inilah revolusi dalam diri untuk evolusi alam. Revolusi hijau demi kemanusiaan, walau ada unsur kapitalis!”

Damak mengangguk, tersenyum sambil lintasan imej-imej aruah ayah dan ibu merentas setiap papan tanda dan papan iklan di lebuhraya. Wajah-wajah kesayangan tersenyum bersama sentuhan kasih sayang dan kata-kata perangsang di masa lalu yang bergema. Merentas suara-suara protes marhaen dari Kaherah, Tunis, Tripoli, Benghazi, Sanaa, Manama, Tehran, Khartoum, Amman, Muscat. Bertukar semangat membara di tanahair yang semakin terbentang menghijau dipandangan, Damak tekad untuk kembali menetap ke tanahair. Kembali sebagai anak berbudi pada tanah dan alam. Berbakti pada generasi yang sudah hampir terlepas dari radar wawasan.

Damak pun menjerit sekuat hati, mengejutkan Dr. Fawzy, lelaki Libya yang terpinga-pinga sebaik kereta memasuki kawasan tol.

“Ya! Jom REVOLUSI!”

Friday, February 25, 2011

What do Saudis expect from their King?




What do Saudis expect from their King?

24/02/2011


Dr. Amal Al- Hazzani
Dr. Amal Al- Hazzaniis is an Assistant Professor in King Saud University in Riyadh.
Whoever observed the welcoming celebrations in Riyadh, and listened to what people had to say about the return of the Saudi ruler, King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, from his medical trip, would think they were living in a different era to 2011. This year began with a series of dramatic events, and significant developments continue to occur. To the outside observer, Saudi Arabia would seem disconnected from news of fleeing rulers, raging uproars and chaotic street scenes.

Rarely would rival parties rally around one individual. Any ruler, by the very nature of their job, is a controversial character. In the US, and because it is the stronghold of the democratic system, we hear nothing but scathing criticism of every speech delivered by Obama, and every step he intends to take. We hear these voices in conference halls, trains, taxis, and even cafes. Yet such discontent is offset by the counter-argument, claiming that Obama possesses the determination to bring about change, but he has been hindered from fulfilling his pledges by a tide of obstructing circumstances. These debates are customary features of idle coffee-shop talk every morning, always ending with the exchange of pleasantries.

At Harvard University, a discussion was recently held about world rulers in general, following the end of the Tunisian crisis, and the beginning of the Egyptian revolution. One of my colleagues asked me: "We hear that you have a good king, who is keen on improving the education system?" I confirmed this statement, and clarified it by telling my colleague that Islam assigns rulers with specific duties. Because Islam is a faith applicable to all eras, and because times change, certain ruling duties become more or less important, and change altogether. In the age we live in, a good education system is just as important as the right to justice, for a civilian cannot fully obtain their rights without first receiving a quality education.

I was unsure why my American colleague had chosen to highlight the issue of education in particular, apart from the fact that the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques has initiated a scholarship program, sending 30,000 male and female students to study in the US. Such an initiative must have given an indication that behind it stands an honest, righteous man.

Indeed, in Saudi Arabia, the current situation deserves contemplation. The biggest problem facing the Saudi youth today is unemployment, yet they look up to their ruler as a man who understands their disappointments and frustrations, and as the only one capable of solving their problems. It is a sentiment of hope and trust rather than anger or exasperation. This subtle bond between the Saudi people and their ruler relates to the nature of King Abdullah, who has a strong sense of compassion and generosity in his expression. There is no malicious falsehood or cruelty in what His Majesty says. His words seem somewhat spontaneous, and are only offset by his firmness when defending the principle of national belonging and patriotism. We all remember him at the 2003 Arab Summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, when he stood up to Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi, who later tried to challenge the Kingdom's policies.

Saudis do not live a luxurious lifestyle; rather they suffer from a growing rate of unemployment. They know that their country is a target for terrorism, and thus they have a growing preoccupation with security. Equally, Saudi women are constantly endeavoring to improve their social and economic status. There are also challenges with regards to education and healthcare, not to mention the impact of desertification, and a lack of water resources. In addition, the country is not free from financial and administrative corruption. These issues are all causes for serious concern, which the Saudis fear may escalate. Nevertheless, they have maintained their positive feelings towards King Abdullah, because they know that these concerns are shared by both the ruler and the people. Nothing widens the gap between a ruler and the populace more than a disparity in concerns and interests. Such a division tends to create mutual estrangement, and destroys any sense of intimacy, which in time can turn to hatred.

Saudis await the return of their king and they expect a lot from him. They have pinned their hopes upon him, and believe that he can fulfill their aspirations. The Saudi youth feel this way towards King Abdullah because His Majesty has shown them that he cares, having addressed them in the language of a father. Saudis were following the developments of His Majesty's health condition with deep concern, hoping for his recovery and eagerly awaiting his return. Meanwhile, in other countries, the masses are driving their rulers out, forcing them beyond their borders.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Penipuan Agensi Pekerjaan di Dubai

Berita dari akhbar Gulf News (tabloid XPRESS) melapurkan pembongkaran penipuan oleh agensi pekerjaan yang beroperasi di Dubai.

Semuga maklumat ini dapat membantu para pencari kerja dalam memastikan mereka tidak terpedaya dengan 'scam' yang masih berlaku.


Dubai: If you went for a job interview and didn't get through, in all likelihood it was because your interviewer was paid to reject you.

Shocking but true. He was just as bogus as the employment agency you approached. Like the agency you registered with, your interviewer never had a job in the first place.

Last September XPRESS blew the lid off a job racket in the UAE, exposing how some recruitment agencies are fleecing job-seekers by the minute. Five months on, we unearth another facet of the scam - a nexus between recruitment firms and staff of some UAE-based companies.

For as little as Dh25, staff of these companies pose as prospective employers and conduct sham interviews on behalf of recruitment agencies. The racket goes on unabated.

Their Dh25 commission comes from the money you give to the employment agency for registering your CV and processing your application. On a regular day, a phony job interviewer - and there are many in the UAE - conducts 10 such sham interviews on average. That's Dh250 for asking a few dumb questions and playing along with the charade. It doesn't hurt.

A manager at a recruitment agency in Sharjah, speaking on condition of anonymity, explained the modus operandi.

"After job applicants register with us, we charge them between Dh300 and Dh400 to arrange job interviews. Of course, these are bogus. We have tied up with the staff of some companies who meet these job aspirants in their offices and, posing as employers, ask them a few questions. In return for the services we give interviewers Dh25 per applicant. Because the interviews are conducted at the actual offices, no one suspects a thing," he explained.

Not an ideal boast

It's not an idle boast. Ask Joseph A., S. Ali, Kishore R., or Rashmi P. They all sat through job interviews for various positions after paying Dh300 to a recruitment agency. None of them got hired.

"They didn't get any job because there weren't any," said an ex-employee of the recruitment agency which arranged these interviews. According to sources, there are at least three offices in Al Ghusais and one in Al Rigga where these bogus interviews are held.

The questions are routine and hardly job-specific. Not surprising, considering it's the same set of people, mostly mid-level executives impersonating HR staff for some easy money on the side.

Gulam Mustafa describes a job interview session arranged by a placement agency for Dh400. The interview was held at a maintenance firm in Al Rigga for a Dh7,000 job.

"It was bizarre. Six of us were interviewed by one man at the same time and for one position. The interviewer was unprofessional. He kept laughing all the time." Now we know why.

Mariam M. recounts how a recruitment agency confirmed her job as HR manager for a reputed Dubai-based group.

"I was shocked because I was not qualified for that position. For the interview, we were taken in a minivan to an isolated warehouse on the outskirts of Sharjah. We were treated badly. They [the interviewers] said we had to be more broad-minded when it came to dressing if we were looking for the job," recalls Mariam.

"These interviews not only help us make quick money, they also absolve us of the responsibility of finding a real job for a candidate. When job-seekers fail to get past the interview, which we know is a foregone conclusion, we tell them we have done our bit and it's their bad luck if they couldn't land a job," said an ex-employee of another recruitment agency, adding that even the names of the girls at the front offices of these companies are fake. A separate investigation by XPRESS confirmed this.

Of late there has been a deluge of complaints against recruitment agencies in the country.

Dubai Gate, Al Amana, Core Elements, Al Aidy Al Mahirah, Al Waseela, New Future and Foreigners Management top the list. Yet the management of the recruitment agencies XPRESS spoke to deny any wrongdoing. However, they did admit that the earlier XPRESS exposé has hit their business badly. Recruitment agencies place job advertisements for fictitious positions. Unsuspecting job-seekers applying for these non-existent positions are asked to pay for registering their CVs, getting the application processed and interview charges. It's illegal for recruitment firms to charge any money from a job applicant.

Until recently each of these placement agencies used to make Dh25,000 daily. According to the staff of one such firm, following the XPRESS report, their income has been reduced to a bare trickle. A Ministry of Labour official said it won't be long before their taps run completely dry.

XPRESS exposé that made an impact

Last September XPRESS exposed a rampant recruitment racket when a reporter created a dumbed-down CV (which included phrases such as "I am a dim-witted imbecile… I bring about a steady erosion of values and company ethics… and have hastened the doom of many companies") before registering it with several employment agencies for Dh300. The response was shocking. Within hours, he got calls for attractive job offers, with two Sharjah-based firms - Dubai Gate Management Consultancy and Al Aidy Al Mahirah - offering him appointment letters provided he paid them more money. One company, Al Waseela, even had the ridiculous position for an elephant trainer - in their zoo-cum-vet hospital in Canada.

Days numbered

A new ordinance issued by the Ministry of Labour on January 14 will make it virtually impossible for unscrupulous recruitment firms to operate in the UAE, a senior official told XPRESS.

"Recruitment agencies that fail to comply with the new rules by May 1 will be shut down," warned the official.

Besides limiting the rights of setting up a private employment agency to Emiratis only, the ordinance stipulates that to be eligible to apply for a licence, every partner and signatory will have to be an Emirati.

The ordinance includes mechanisms to reduce malpractices and also stipulates guarantees and commitments from agencies. For instance, recruitment agencies have to present a bank security cheque of Dh1 million to peruse its activities in temporary employment, and Dh300,000 for broker activities.

They have to also set aside Dh2,000 for each worker which the Ministry of Labour will use to compensate if they are not paid by their employers. The agency will have to also ensure that employees do not pay any fees in the Emirates or abroad to secure their job.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The World's Most Liveable Cities 2011

Vancouver: The World's Most Liveable City 2011
Vancouver: The World's Most Liveable City 2011
Image Courtesy of Dripps

The Economist Intelligence Unit has announced the World's Most Liveable Cities List for 2011. Cities from Canada and Australia dominate the Top 10.

The Economist Intelligence Unit announced today (21st February 2011) it’s list of the World’s Most Liveable Cities. The highest score and number one ranking was achieved by Vancouver, Canada.

Vancouver: The World’s Most Liveable City

For the fifth year in a row Vancouver has been ranked as the number one world’s most liveable city by the Economist Intelligence Unit. Vancouver, Canada’s eighth largest city, received a major boost to its infrastructure when it hosted the 2010 Winter Olympics, adding to the services and facilities which have seen the city dominate the Economist's rankings for most of the past decade.

Vancouver received a 100/100 ranking for its health care services, education system and for its culture and environment rating. It also received an impressive 95/100 stability ranking. The report’s authors did note that Vancouver’s crime rate is on the rise. Vancouver’s murder rate of 2.6 per 100,000 is well above the Canadian 1.8 per 100,000 average.

Vancouver topped the list of the world’s most livable cities for the fifth straight year, while Melbourne claimed second place from Vienna and Australian and Canadian cities dominated the list’s top 10 spots.

In the annual survey by the Economist Intelligence Unit, the Canadian west coast city and 2010 Winter Olympics host scored 98% on a combination of stability, health care, culture and environment, education, and infrastructure — a score unchanged from last year.

It has topped the list from 2007.

Although Melbourne pipped the Austrian capital for silver medal, there was no other major change near the top of the list of 140 cities worldwide. Auckland, New Zealand, came in 10th.

“Mid-sized cities in developed countries with relatively low population densities tend to score well by having all the cultural and infrastructural benefits on offer with fewer problems related to crime or congestion,” said Jon Copestake, editor of the report, in a statement.

Pittsburgh was the top U.S. city with 29th place — just ahead of Honolulu — while Los Angeles moved up three places to 44th and New York held onto the 56th spot.

London moved up one place to 53rd while Paris came in at number 16.

The top Asian city was Osaka at number 12, tying Geneva, Switzerland and beating out the Japanese capital of Tokyo, which came in at 18.

Hong Kong came in at 31 but Beijing, capital of the world’s most populous nation and No. 2 economy, straggled in at 72.
There was also little change at the bottom, with Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe, once again claiming the worst position with a rating of 37.5 percent, narrowing beating out the Bangladesh capital of Dhaka.

The Economist Intelligence Unit survey ranks cities based on 30 factors such as healthcare, culture and environment, and education and personal safety.

Following is a list of the top 10 most liveable cities as ranked by The Economist Intelligence Unit:
1. Vancouver, Canada
2. Melbourne, Australia
3. Vienna, Austria
4. Toronto, Canada
5. Calgary, Canada
6. Helsinki, Finland
7. Sydney, Australia
8. Perth, Australia
8. Adelaide, Australia
10. Auckland, New Zealand

The bottom 10 cities were:
1. Harare, Zimbabwe
2. Dhaka , Bangladesh
3. Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
4. Lagos, Nigeria
5. Algiers , Algeria
6. Karachi, Pakistan
7. Douala, Cameroon
8. Tehran, Iran
9. Dakar, Senegal
10. Colombo, Sri Lanka

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Gaddafi's all female bodyguards known as The Amazonian Guard


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The Amazonian Guard
Muammar al-Gaddafi maintains a 40 member group of women unofficially referred to as the Amazonian Guard as his personal bodyguards and protectors. Upon selection as a candidate for the group the ladies are put through a tough training regimen in firearms and martial arts. His body guards are killing machines. They are trained to protect him and die for him. They also take a vow of chastity and apparently many young women are dying to take on this role. The Amazonian guard dress in western style fatigues, can wear make up, western hair styles, high heels, and other clothing not deemed acceptable in the Muslim world. These women are supposedly all virgins.
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Qadhafi appears to rely heavily and reportedly cannot travel without his senior Ukrainian nurse, Galyna Kolotnytska, who has been described as a "voluptuous blonde." Most likely that is her : see picture below.
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Gaddafi's nurse - Glyna Kolotnytska


Galyna Kolotnytska (notice the cross) age 36
All the images belong to their respective owners

Tracing America’s Muslim connection

JOSEPH RICHARD PREVILLE
Kambiz GhaneaBassiri’s fascinating book traces the history of Muslims in the United States and their different waves of immigration and conversion across five centuries, through colonial and antebellum America, through world wars and civil rights struggles, to the contemporary eraKAMBIZ GhaneaBassiri is an associate professor of religion and humanities at Reed College in Portland, Oregon. Born in Tehran, Iran, Dr. GhaneaBassiri was educated at Claremont McKenna College and Harvard University. He is the author of “Competing Visions of Islam in the United States: A Study of Los Angeles” (Praeger, 1997), and “A History of Islam in America: From the New World to the New World Order” (Cambridge University Press, 2010)

Congratulations on the publication of your new book “A History of Islam in America”. What inspired you to write it?
I had found that discussions of Islam in America, both within the academy and outside, primarily focused on questions of assimilation. There was a general assumption that Muslims are outsiders to American society. Historically, however, Muslims have had a very long presence in America dating back to colonial times. No one, however, had carefully examined how Muslims have participated in American society, how they have built American Muslim communities and institutions.
I wanted to examine this history to show how the phenomenon of American Islam demands of us to rethink the politicized dichotomy between Islam and the West, which has come to shape the way the relationship between Islam and modernity is imagined.

What has drawn Muslims from around the world to live in the United States?
The answer to that question varies depending on the time period. In colonial and antebellum times, Muslims were mainly brought to these shores as slaves. At the turn of the twentieth century, they came mainly in search of better economic opportunities. Some sought to escape inscription into the Ottoman army. In the latter half of the 20th century, they came not only for economic opportunities but also to go to universities or to escape from wars or political repression at home. Since the 1920s, the United States has also been home to a significant population of converts and to black nationalists movements that appropriated Islam symbolically to develop a distinct national identity through which they could escape the stigma of blackness and partaking in American progress.

Is it possible for the United States to evolve into a Judeo-Christian-Islamic society?
The Immigration Act of 1965 forever changed the religious landscape of the United States by getting rid of racist quotas that restricted immigration from Asia and Africa.
While some still see Christianity and Judaism as representing the established religions of American society, today, the religious landscape of America is colored not only by Muslims but also by Buddhists, Sikhs, Hindus, Jains, Baha’is and various other religions. I think America will not evolve into a Judeo-Christian-Islamic society but into a multi-religious society. The evolution will not be smooth, however. Religious pluralism is a founding ideal of the United States, but historically Americans have moved toward it kicking and screaming.

What are the challenges facing American Muslims today?
There is no doubt that there has been a rise in anti-Muslim sentiments in the US in recent years, but I don’t think this represents a threat to the prosperity of American Muslims.
Over the years, American Muslims have formed meaningful relations within their local communities, and thanks to civil rights legislation, they also have legal means through which they redress religious bigotry. Their biggest challenge is to construct institutions, communities, discourses, and relations that reflect their actual lives in the US so that they could protect the younger generation from feeling stigmatized or becoming radicalized by the negative stereotypes and anti-Muslim discourses that surround them.

Is homegrown leadership important for the future of the American Muslim community?
Because of the long history of Muslims in the United States and the presence of a large indigenous American Muslim population, the absence of homegrown leadership has not been a major issue for the American Muslim community. While there are some Muslim leaders who came from overseas, the majority of mosques in the United States are funded and administered by local communities. Most don’t have a paid Imam, which means that the duties of the Imam get rotated between members of the local community.

How can Muslims help America to become a more open, multicultural and tolerant society?
When faced with religious discrimination or bigotry, American Muslims could remind their compatriots of the nation’s founding ideal of religious freedom.
This is precisely what we saw in the summer of 2010 at the height of the controversy surrounding the proposed Park 51 Islamic center in Lower Manhattan. By defending their right to build an Islamic center near Ground Zero, American Muslims stepped onto the national stage and in their own voices defended America’s founding ideals of religious freedom and tolerance.

Are you optimistic about the future of Islam in America?
It’s perilous to try to predict the future based on the past. Nonetheless, I am cautiously optimistic. Despite all of the challenges that Muslims have faced and despite the US invasion of two Muslim-majority countries in recent years, most American Muslims interpret their post-9/11 context in term of civil rights struggles rather than a struggle against colonial hegemony.
This signals that they believe they could play a role in shaping the future of America by narrowing the gap between their lived experiences as American Muslims and the negative representation of Islam in the public square.

BBC Radio: British gay Muslims seek Islamic weddings

Activists at a London Pride event in 2005
There is growing visibility of gay Muslims in Britain, although not all are confident about coming out

British gay Muslims are joining the global fight for equality and seeking gay Islamic marriage. The BBC's 5 live Investigates speaks to one couple about their 'nikah' - a Muslim matrimonial contract - and asks how they balance their sexuality with the Islamic faith.

"We met about three years ago, at an iftar - a breaking of fast during Ramadan.

"I think a lot of Muslims find that time of year very spiritual and very enlightening, and so I think that's why our relationship developed, because we spoke about our faith."

"Eventually we went on a date."

Asra recalls the first time she met her partner, Sarah, three years ago. The gay couple, who are also Muslim, are one of a growing number of gay, British Muslims who have cemented their relationship with marriage - Islamic marriage.

Asra fondly remembers the moment Sarah proposed to her.

"After the first date, which was about an hour, Sarah casually asked me to marry her."

Sarah interjects.

"I think it was more like four hours, after dinner, coffee and walking. I didn't really plan it, but it just really seemed like the way it was between us, I should try and keep it as pure as possible.

"That may sound strange being lesbians, but it felt like we should do it the most honourable way we could."

It's still very difficult for me to tell my family about my life being a lesbian. They know I am a believer, they know I am religious, but going as far as saying I am a lesbian is quite hard”

End Quote Asra, gay Muslim


The Muslim way

Asra and Sarah decided upon a 'nikah' - a Muslim matrimonial contract. Whilst nikahs have traditionally been the reserve of heterosexual Muslims, Asra and Sarah were aware that other gay Muslims had followed this route and the couple decided to investigate further.

"A few friends said you don't really have to have an official Imam, but you need someone who is knowledgeable enough about the Qur'an to do it. Fortunately, one of our friends was, and she offered to do it. She's a lesbian herself, and she said we could do it in her home."

Three months after the proposal, the big day came. Asra wore a white shalwar kameez - a traditional Pakistani outfit - and Sarah a pink dress.

"I wanted to wear leather, but Asra wouldn't let me," she sighs.

"We got rings from Camden market, and we drew up contracts - we got a blueprint off the internet of a heterosexual contract and we both looked at it separately, to see if there were things we wanted to change."

"I remember I put about the dog - that if we broke up, Asra wouldn't steal the dog."

Asra rolls her eyes and adds "we also did a dowry, of £5. It was a symbolic thing and we've still got those £5 notes."

In attendance were six friends, who also acted as witnesses - "and a cat," says Sarah.

Imam Daayiee Abdullah

By not allowing same-sex couples to wed, there is a direct attack on the Qur'an's message that each person has a mate who is their 'comfort and their cloak'”

Imam Daayiee Abdullah

The short ceremony was conducted in Arabic, and additional duas - prayers - were read and the marriage was essentially no different from the nikahs performed for straight Muslim couples all over the world.

But the Islamic faith vehemently rejects homosexuality, and the fact this nikah was for a gay couple is highly offensive to the majority of Muslims - including Asra's own parents.

"It's still very difficult for me to tell my family about my life being a lesbian. They know I am a believer, they know I am religious, but going as far as saying I am a lesbian is quite hard," Asra says.

"I remember thinking this is the only time I am going to get married, and my family weren't there.

"That was constantly going through my mind - I am having an Islamic nikah, doing as much as I can through my faith, but my family weren't there."

However, Sarah's relationship with her family is quite different.

"Because I wasn't born a Muslim - I converted five years ago - I think my family is quite accepting of my sexuality. But sometimes it seems like they are waiting for me to grow out of being a Muslim."

Gay Muslim voices

Sarah and Asra know their marriage is unorthodox, and the idea of a gay nikah would be rejected by the majority of Muslim scholars, but Sarah says it is nobody's business.

"It is between me and God, and when we got married it was not ideal, but we were doing our best."

However, there is a small but growing voice within the Muslim community representing gay people, with the emergence of British gay Muslim support groups such as Imaan and Safra Project.

One of the key advocates of Muslim gay marriage is the American Imam, Daayiee Abdullah - who himself is gay. He has performed a number of gay nikahs in America and has also advised gay British Muslim couples on how to perform the ceremony.

He reasons that to deny gay Muslim couples the right to a religious union, goes against teachings in the Koran.

Speaking to 5 live Investigates, he says: "Since Islamic legal precedence does not allow same sexes to wed, Muslim societies make it a legal impossibility within Islam [but] by not allowing same-sex couples to wed, there is a direct attack on the Koran's message that each person has a mate who is their 'comfort and their cloak'."

It is not just within the Muslim community that gay Muslim couples such as Sarah and Asra have encountered hostility.

"I feel there's Islamaphobia within the gay community. It's something that really worries me," says Sarah.

Asra recalls a particularly unsavoury incident.

"There was an occasion at gay pride once where one of the marchers turned around and quite crudely said 'we didn't know pride was allowing suicide bombers on the march' - it was really shocking to hear it from a fellow gay marcher."

But according to Sarah, it's not just Muslims who are rejected by the gay community.

"I think there's a deep-rooted assumption in the secular queer community that you can't be gay and believe in anything, apart from yourself or materialism."

Acceptance

However, gay unions are being integrated into wider British society even more - and the government recently announced plans to allow churches in England and Wales to host civil partnership ceremonies.

Ministers have pledged greater equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, but said no religious group would be forced to host the ceremonies.

The Church of England has said it will not do so. Quakers have welcomed the plans, with support also expected from Unitarians and Liberal Jews. But what about the Muslim community?

"Homosexuality is not considered a halal way of living at the moment, so of course there's going to be an extreme reaction to a gay nikah. So, as a community we have to get tolerance before we can even attempt acceptance of marriage," says Asra.

But she is hopeful for the future.

"I certainly know younger gay Muslims that are out to their families and their families are absolutely fine with it.

"Same-sex nikahs are still a contentious issue, but all I can say is I have done it, and I am completely comfortable and content with my faith and hopefully people will think 'well, let me try and get to that place'.

You can hear the full report on 5 live Investigates on Sunday, 20 February at 2100 GMT on BBC Radio 5 live.

You can also listen again on the BBC iPlayer or by downloading the 5 live Investigates podcast.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Hosni Mubarak fined for drinking alcohol in Dubai




Hosni Mubarak namesake fined for drinking alcohol in Dubai

Young man caught under the influence in Al Muraqqabat

  • By Bassam Za'Za', Senior Reporter
  • Published: 00:00 February 21, 2011

Dubai: Hosni Mubarak was on Sunday fined Dh1,000 for consuming liquor in Dubai.

Shock and awe rippled through in the Dubai Misdemeanours Court yesterday when a judge called out the name Hosni Mubarak — but it was a suspect who has the same name as the former Egyptian President.

Presiding Judge Abdullah Khalif Abu Zeid had a smile on his face when he called "Hosni Mubarak" to summon the Pakistani defendant to approach the bench in courtroom five.

The defendant, in his 20s, pleaded guilty to the charge of consuming liquor.

He had been caught drunk in Al Muraqqabat.

"I stayed alone in this city" read a slogan on the front of the his black T-shirt.

Towards the end of the hearing the judge fined the defendant Dh1,000.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Sajak : Mimpi-Mimpi Memanjang

http://www.wallpaperbase.com/wallpapers/photography/budapest/budapest_1.jpg

(Dewan Sastera Mac 2011)

Menghitung dari angka-angka bertambah
haluan ke hulu ke hilir bercambah
ke mana kita, ke sana atau di sini sahaja
setelah kepenatan mengejar masa
bersama kendur jasad dan usia
mengulang realiti dari fantasia
warna-warna neon pun semakin pudar
rumput-rumput di kaki lebat menjalar
yang tinggal adalah bayang-bayang
titik-titik hitam kehidupan jalang!

Memanjang mimpi-mimpi tak sudah
membuang sisa keringat dan darah
sebagai tapak-tapak perjalanan diri
berhiasan dengan fatamorgana hari
menggapai hajat di persada saujana
kita tiada apa-apa untuk dibawa
biar hanya menanti di pintu syurga
belum pasti jua di mana pusara
kerana dalam klimaks yang sesat
masihkah terdengar rintihan taubat?

Fudzail
Budapest 2010


http://www.wallpaperbase.com/wallpapers/photography/budapest/budapest_3.jpg