Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Death

Do this or you will die.  Don't do this because if you do, you will die.

Is this correct?

Some actions can bring about death but those actions do not affect that godly will of God decreed on all His creatures called death.  That expiry of life which time is not in the knowledge of the human being.  Which can never be made earlier or later (through giving of charity and supplication) except by His will.

Death simply means our time is up. We don't choose the time.  But we can, to a certain extent, choose how we end.  The good ending ("husnul khotimah") is something Muslims must strive for and seek for from God The Almighty. "Allahumma aj'alna husnul khotimah" (Oh Allah grant us good ending).  With our four hands and feet, how do we strive for a good ending? Through persistently doing good deeds.


A sweet yet inspiring song on coming to terms with death.  Bila Tiba by Ungu.




Monday, 4 August 2014

Blood Donation

Couldn't let this valuable information pass.

Spare us your blood, kind souls. Each drop saves a life.

From The Star Online:-


Published: Saturday August 2, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Saturday August 2, 2014 MYT 7:27:53 AM

Top 10 things you didn't know about blood donation

1) There are two types of blood donation — whole blood and apheresis.
Whole blood involves donating blood in its full form. Apheresis separates platelets and plasma from the blood while the donor is hooked up to a machine. The remaining blood is pumped back into the donor.
“Apheresis is costly but effective as we are able to separate the components for specific purposes,” said Dr Norasrina Ishak, head of National Blood Bank blood procurement division.
The whole blood donation takes 30 minutes and can only be done once in three months.
In comparison, apheresis donation takes over an hour and can only be done at the centre due to machine availability, but an apheresis donor can donate once every two weeks.
2) Altruism is the top reason driving Malaysians to donate blood.
According to a survey by the National Blood Bank, many come forward because of a genuine desire to help others.
Retiree Low Cheng Har, 60, was doing an apheresis donation when MOB visited the National Blood Bank.
It was Low’s 331st apheresis donation, having been a blood donor since 1994. She takes the bus from her home in Bandar Sri Damansara, Petaling Jaya, to get to the centre in Kuala Lumpur.
“I’m motivated by a sense of wanting to help others. If I were in the patient’s shoes, I hope others would do the same for me,” she said, adding that her husband and sons were also regular blood donors.
3) There are many benefits to being a blood donor.
Apart from helping others, regular blood donors also receive benefits in return.
Malaysians who donate twice in a period of 12 months are entitled to a free Hepatitis B vaccine shot.
Those who donate more than 50 times (whole blood) and 150 times (apheresis) are entitled to free outpatient treatment at any government hospital.
Should they be warded, they will be entitled to a free first-class ward for the first 10 years, and second-class ward after.
Regular blood donors also enjoy free health screenings every six months.
4) Misconceptions about blood donation.
Dr Norasrina said some of the reasons cited by the public for not donating blood were fear of needles, fear of the sight of blood and, surprisingly, fear of gaining weight.
“Some people have a misconception that they will eat more after donating blood because the body needs to be ‘replenished’, but this is untrue so donors should not worry,” she said.
“We sterilise our needles properly so there shouldn’t be a fear of infectious diseases,” she said.
5) Four to five hundred units of blood are needed in a day.
One unit is about 450ml of blood. The National Blood Bank collects 3,200 units of blood in a week.
The collected blood is supplied to government and private hospitals in the Klang Valley, while in other states it is provided by the respective state blood banks.
“Eighty percent of donations come from mobile clinics. Apart from our own donation drives, we also work with various corporations, schools, non-governmental organisations and other government bodies.
“The amount of blood one can donate depends on the donor’s weight.
“If you are below 50kg, you either donate 250ml or 350ml; and 450ml if you are 50kg and above,” said Dr Norasrina.
The donated blood is quarantined and sent to screen for hepatitis B, hepatitis C, HIV and syphillis.
Once the green light is given, the blood is processed into components – plasma, platelets and packed cells (red blood cells), which are then distributed to hospitals or stored.
6) One blood donation can save three lives.
This is a tagline used by the National Blood Bank to encourage blood donation. The reason is because there are three components in the blood which serve different functions.
For example, platelets help dengue patients who are low on platelet count. It is also used for patients undergoing chemotherapy.
Red blood cells carry oxygen and are important for blood transfusion in cases of accidents, operations, thalassemia and heavy bleeding; whereas plasma, which contain blood-clotting factors, can help burn victims.
“This is one of the reasons why we encourage apheresis donation because it is more specific,” Dr Norasrina explained.
“It takes four to six random whole blood units to extract the same amount of plasma or platelets used for one patient’s treatment. In apheresis, the ratio is one donor to one patient. This reduces the risk of adverse reactions,” she added.
7) Blood type “A” tends to run short.
Despite about 25% of the population having A blood type, it often runs short in the blood bank. Registration division head Rosalind Choo said it was possible that many A-blood type donors were not aware or were not coming forward to donate.
“Blood donation levels tend to see a drop during festivals and school holidays, but we have a forecasting system and we plan ahead to make sure there are always stocks in hand,” she said.
8) Blood banks need a continuous supply of donations.
Red blood cells can last 42 days maximum, while platelets can only be kept for five to seven days. Plasma can be frozen and if kept in the right conditions, can keep well for years.
The short lifespan of some components is the reason why the blood bank is constantly in need of supply.
“Red blood cells have a lifespan of about 122 days in the body, of which then they will die and be replenished. Instead of letting it go to waste, donating it can help to save lives,” said Dr Norasrina.
“Many of our donors also report feeling fresher after donating blood,” she added.
9) The largest demographic of donors in Malaysia are between the ages 18 and 30.
Dr Norasrani said most donation drives were currently focused in urban areas.
“If we reach out to the rural areas, the number of donors will definitely rise.
“In 2013, we collected 670,000 units nationwide. Our aim is to get a consistent supply throughout the year,” she added.
Other outreach programmes include regular campaigns in schools and universities to instill awareness from a young age.
10) I want to be a blood donor.
Now that you’re all pumped up to do your part for charity, here is what you need to fulfill to get started.
A donor has to be between 18 and 60 years old, healthy and weigh 45kg and above. They must not have been on medication recently or have any congenital diseases.
The night before donation, they must get a minimum of five hours of sleep. A healthy lifestyle is essential.
Those aged below 18 must get parental consent.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

First Week Of May 2014

It has been awhile since I last posted.

6th of May 2014, 2 a.m, the legendary malay actor Seniman Aziz Satar breathed his last. He was 89 years old. The last of the Bujang Lapok threesome. Innalillahi wainna ilaihi raji'un (surely we belong to Allah and to Him shall we return). 

People say that life is age measured in time. Hence, every second that passes by is a part of life lost. And so we move closer to our end. People also say that we don't choose how we are born but we may choose how we end. Husnul Khotimah (good ending) can be an excellent target. But don't be fooled into thinking that once we end in the world, there is no other life. The grave is the transit before we proceed to the hereafter. Oh yes, we came from the heaven, roam the earth and to heaven or not, do we return.

See you again. 

Sunday, 23 March 2014

10 Tips To Conserve Water Usage-From NST1klassifieds, 7 March 2014

Some parts in Selangor have around 8 days more till the expected expiry of the water rationing exercise. Having to conserve water and always having water-supply related thoughts, I now cannot think of the importance of water any lesser. Here are some 10 points the 1Klassifieds Team of the New Straits Times newspaper has compiled for us, appearing on page C32 of the 7th March 2014 edition.

************************

10 Tips To Conserve Water Usage

Water conservation falls into two categories: engineering technologies such as low flush toilets, and behavioural, such as turning off the water while brushing teeth.  A complete water conservation plan should include both engineering and behavioural practices.

Some scientists predict water shortages will be the most important challenge facing the world in the next decade.  Due to factors including increasing population and use, as well as climate change, water is becoming an increasingly precious resource.  Given these concerns, conserving water usage in the home is an important step to take.

1. Check your home for leaky faucets and toilets-Have the leaks repaired, or fix them yourself.  Install low-flow shower head in the bathroom to keep the water pressure high, but reduce your household water use by up to 170 litres a day.

2. Consider replacing older toilets with newer low-flush models-Toilets from 1992 or earlier, tend to be much less efficient, using at least three gallons of water per flush.  Newer toilets are designed for efficiency, which use less than five litres per flush.

3. Make sure all your faucets are equipped with aerators- Check your shower head.  If your shower can fill up a four-litre bucket in less than 20 seconds, replace the shower head with a low-flow version.

4.  If you water your lawn, consider installing a drip irrigation system.  Water is delivered directly to the grass, so less is wasted due to wind and evaporation.

5. Turn off the water when brushing your teeth, shaving, or during other times when you are not actively using the water.  Simply turning off the water during these times can save up to 30 litres of water per day.

6.  Take showers instead of baths- A five-minute shower uses an average of 35 to 95 litres of water, versus nearly 265 litres to fill a bath.

7. Run full loads in the dishwasher and washing machine, or adjust the water level for smaller loads.

8.  When washing dishes by hand, fill a dish pan with water rather than constantly running the faucet.  Give each person in your household a designated glass, or reusable water bottle, so they don't grab a new glass each time, which also reduces the number of dishes you have to wash.

9.  If you have to water your lawn or garden, do it in the morning or evening.  Less water will be lost to evaporation when you avoid watering during the warmest and sunniest time of the day.

10.  If you wash your car at home, park it on the lawn and recycle car wash water as irrigation for your lawn.  Catch what you can. Place a bucket in the shower or under the rain spout, to collect water and use it to water your plants and lawn.

Compiled by 1Klassifieds Team




Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Uncle Jalil Bin Ibrahim


A friend is looking for his long lost uncle. 


In the words of my friend:-

Does anyone know this person?  This is my long-lost uncle, Jalil Bin Ibrahim.  Last seen when he was leaving for Australia, Melbourne, I think.  He is the second youngest of nine siblings, my father was his elder brother, Abdul Hamid Bin Ibrahim.

Jalil, whom I called Pak Andak (a term of endearment in Malay) left to further his studies in Surveying but he never returned.  We heard news of his whereabouts in bits and pieces but never got any reliable news.  I am not quite sure why he disappeared but I was told that it had to do with some disagreement between the siblings.  My father tried to look for Jalil when my father was alive but to no avail.  My father asked me to continue looking for Jalil before he passed away-Hazidi Bin Abdul Hamid.

Uncle Jalil would be in his early 60s now.  Before he left for Australia, he was studying in what is now known as Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) in Kuala Lumpur.  Uncle Jalil's hometown is in Bandar Kaba, Melaka.  The family home was the old house behind St. Francis Institute which is up the road from Melaka High School.  All his brothers studied at Melaka High School.

Here are old photos of Uncle Jalil:-





Sunday, 20 October 2013

Months back, I learned about this news saying Arnoud Van Doorn as having had embraced Islam. Alhamdulillah he has now performed his pilgrimage to Makkah. 

http://worldobserveronline.com/2013/10/19/fitna-producer-finds-peace-holy-sites/



‘Fitna’ producer finds peace in the holy sites

 

October 19, 2013 10:42 am Comments Off Views: 296

A once strident anti-Islam activist who gained notoriety as the producer of Fitna, a derogatory film wrongly portraying Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), has found peace and tranquility while performing Haj this year.

Arnoud Van Doorn, a former member of the Geert Wilders racist Dutch Party for Freedom, reverted to Islam a year ago after propagating against the divine religion for years.

Van Doorn bitterly regrets having taken part in the production of the hateful film Fitna (Sedition) and said he was in the holy sites to atone for his sins.

“I found myself among these faithful hearts. I hope that my tears of regret will wash out all my sins after my repentance,” Van Doorn said.

He said, as a token of atonement, he will produce a new film that will show the true essence of Islam and the correct personality of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).

Van Doorn described Fitna as a totally wrong movie which contained a lot of misleading and incorrect information that had nothing to do with the noble divine religion or its great Prophet (pbuh).

He said that since his arrival in this holy land, he has been living the best days of his life and he hoped that he could spend more time in Madinah to which he was determined to return after the completion of his Haj rites.
“I felt ashamed standing in front of the Prophet’s grave. I thought of the grave mistake which I had made by producing that sacrilegious film. I hope that Allah will forgive me and accept my repentance,” he said.

Van Doorn said he read a lot about Islam and regretted his erstwhile hostility to this great religion.

 

 

Tips On Improving Productivity

Chanced upon this in LinkedIn. Key number 2 is most interesting. Do the tough ones first. Do it early in the morning, when our energy is at its peak and we have fewer distractions. Delayed gratification. Productivity and efficiency, yes? Read on....

Six Keys to Being Excellent at Anything

by Tony Schwartz  |   2:21 PM August 24, 2010


I’ve been playing tennis for nearly five decades. I love the game and I hit the ball well, but I’m far from the player I wish I were.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot the past couple of weeks, because I’ve taken the opportunity, for the first time in many years, to play tennis nearly every day. My game has gotten progressively stronger. I’ve had a number of rapturous moments during which I’ve played like the player I long to be.

And almost certainly could be, even though I’m 58 years old. Until recently, I never believed that was possible. For most of my adult life, I’ve accepted the incredibly durable myth that some people are born with special talents and gifts, and that the potential to truly excel in any given pursuit is largely determined by our genetic inheritance.

During the past year, I’ve read no fewer than five books — and a raft of scientific research — which powerfully challenge that assumption (see below for a list). I’ve also written one, The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working, which lays out a guide, grounded in the science of high performance, to systematically building your capacity physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.

We’ve found, in our work with executives at dozens of organizations, that it’s possible to build any given skill or capacity in the same systematic way we do a muscle: push past your comfort zone, and then rest. Aristotle Will Durant*, commenting on Aristotle, pointed out that the philosopher had it exactly right 2000 years ago: “We are what we repeatedly do.” By relying on highly specific practices, we’ve seen our clients dramatically improve skills ranging from empathy, to focus, to creativity, to summoning positive emotions, to deeply relaxing.
Like everyone who studies performance, I’m indebted to the extraordinary Anders Ericsson, arguably the world’s leading researcher into high performance. For more than two decades, Ericsson has been making the case that it’s not inherited talent which determines how good we become at something, but rather how hard we’re willing to work — something he calls “deliberate practice.” Numerous researchers now agree that 10,000 hours of such practice is the minimum necessary to achieve expertise in any complex domain.

That notion is wonderfully empowering. It suggests we have remarkable capacity to influence our own outcomes. But that’s also daunting. One of Ericsson’s central findings is that practice is not only the most important ingredient in achieving excellence, but also the most difficult and the least intrinsically enjoyable.

If you want to be really good at something, it’s going to involve relentlessly pushing past your comfort zone, as well as frustration, struggle, setbacks and failures. That’s true as long as you want to continue to improve, or even maintain a high level of excellence. The reward is that being really good at something you’ve earned through your own hard work can be immensely satisfying.

Here, then, are the six keys to achieving excellence we’ve found are most effective for our clients:
  1. Pursue what you love. Passion is an incredible motivator. It fuels focus, resilience, and perseverance.
  2. Do the hardest work first. We all move instinctively toward pleasure and away from pain. Most great performers, Ericsson and others have found, delay gratification and take on the difficult work of practice in the mornings, before they do anything else. That’s when most of us have the most energy and the fewest distractions.
  3. Practice intensely, without interruption for short periods of no longer than 90 minutes and then take a break. Ninety minutes appears to be the maximum amount of time that we can bring the highest level of focus to any given activity. The evidence is equally strong that great performers practice no more than 4 ½ hours a day.
  4. Seek expert feedback, in intermittent doses. The simpler and more precise the feedback, the more equipped you are to make adjustments. Too much feedback, too continuously can create cognitive overload, increase anxiety, and interfere with learning.
  5. Take regular renewal breaks. Relaxing after intense effort not only provides an opportunity to rejuvenate, but also to metabolize and embed learning. It’s also during rest that the right hemisphere becomes more dominant, which can lead to creative breakthroughs.
  6. Ritualize practice. Will and discipline are wildly overrated. As the researcher Roy Baumeister has found, none of us have very much of it. The best way to insure you’ll take on difficult tasks is to build rituals — specific, inviolable times at which you do them, so that over time you do them without having to squander energy thinking about them.
I have practiced tennis deliberately over the years, but never for the several hours a day required to achieve a truly high level of excellence. What’s changed is that I don’t berate myself any longer for falling short. I know exactly what it would take to get to that level.

I’ve got too many other higher priorities to give tennis that attention right now. But I find it incredibly exciting to know that I’m still capable of getting far better at tennis — or at anything else — and so are you.
Here are the recent books on this subject:
* Thanks to commenter Rick Thomas for pointing out the misattribution.

Tony Schwartz is president and CEO of The Energy Project. He is the author of the June, 2010 HBR article, “The Productivity Paradox: How Sony Pictures Gets More Out of People by Demanding Less,” and coauthor, with Catherine McCarthy, of the 2007 HBR article, “Manage Your Energy, Not Your Time.” Tony is also the author of the new book “The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working: The Four Forgotten Needs that Energize Great Performance” (Free Press, 2010).

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Tony Schwartz is the president and CEO of The Energy Project and the author of Be Excellent at Anything. Become a fan of The Energy Project on Facebook and connect with Tony at Twitter.com/TonySchwartz and Twitter.com/Energy_Project.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Sharing From A Blog-To Vaccinate Or Not To Vaccinate?



Parents of the modern day today have been heard of having doubts about vaccination for their babies.  There is also this opinion about Autism being caused by vaccination. I chanced upon this opinion by a paediatrician when I was reading through Dr Halina Yunos' blog below.  Have a read!

http://barelysupermommy.com/2013/07/11/vaccinations/

Dear BarelySupermommy readers,



I reckon that some of you may have your own stand on this matter- vaccination. While some of you may disagree, I believe majority of us still believe in vaccination as an effective preventive measure to combat certain infectious diseases. However, the last few months or so, someone may have spoken to you or you may have read on Facebook – that vaccination is not what it seemed. That it is not safe , causes autism, not ‘halal’ and that vaccines are only for profits. You googled. There were many articles on the pros but there were quite a lot on the cons as well. You read the disadvantages of vaccination and then everything seem to weigh on you. You cant help it but started to wonder if they were all true.

     

I believe that most misconceptions and controversies regarding vaccination stems from the fact that people underestimate the disease and overestimate the side effects. While I agree that Adverse Event Following Immunization (AEFI) do sometimes occur , most are mild (e.g fever and soreness) and disappears rather quickly. I am sure most mothers out there would agree, having had your children vaccinated before. On the contrary, I believe not many of you have seen the diseases at their worst. Measles, for example, may be fever and red spots to most but are you aware that it can spread to the brain and cause death? Pertussis, may begin with the usual fever and cough but as it progress to the second stage of the disease, babies may have prolonged cough, turn blue and stop breathing. Polio was almost eradicated but sadly, on the rise in certain third world countries where the vaccination rate is low. Meningitis, or inflammation of the brain lining caused by Haemophilus Influenza may render a child debilitated and even cause death. Whether you like it or not , the truth is vaccination has tremendously reduce the burden of infectious diseases and has prevented deaths in millions of children all around the world.

     

Let’s discuss a little bit about the history of vaccines and how it works before discussing the issues because I feel that we would be able to appreciate what we have today if we knew how it all began. Have you ever heard of smallpox? Some of you may have not heard of it because the disease is no longer around. But do you know that the deadly disease was one of the most devastating diseases in the history of mankind and has in fact killed more than 500 millions people for many centuries? 500 millions! But thanks to Edward Jenner, whose work contributed to the development of vaccines, smallpox was eradicated and we don’t have to live to see our loves one dying from the disease.

     

How does vaccines work? Simply put, imagine a child who develops chicken pox for example, they will rarely contract the disease again . Why? Because the immune system has memory, so that the next time the child is exposed to the virus, the body remembers and destroys the virus even before it causes sickness. And vaccines works the same way, only artificially. Vaccines contains weakened or killed form of the germs, when introduced into the body triggers an immune response without causing the disease. So that the next time the children are exposed to the virus or bacteria, their antibodies would be able to recognize it and combats it.

     

I remember 3 years ago, a child was admitted to the ward for lung infection. Upon asking the immunisation history, we found out that the child was not vaccinated. In fact, none of his siblings were. I started to counsel the parents but I was quickly dismissed. They felt strongly against vaccination and did not want to discuss any further. Kata mereka ‘ anak anak yang lain semua okay je, tak pernah sakit pun walaupun tak divaksin’. I wanted to tell them about ‘herd immunity’ but then dropped the idea.

     

What is ‘herd immunity’? In other words, it’s called ‘community’ immunity. It occurs when majority of the population is vaccinated, and the immunity that is achieved by the community would be able to protect those who could not be vaccinated (due to medical reason , HIV, immunosuppresed children). I think that this has not been sufficiently emphasized- that when you get your child vaccinated , you not only protect your child from the infectious diseases but also other kids who are unfortunate enough to have low immunity to be vaccinated. I cant emphasize enough that you are doing a good deed if you get your child vaccinated. But when the rate of vaccination falls, the herd immunity is lost, and I guess you can figure out what comes next.

     

Having understood the basics, let’s move on to one of the most common misconception about vaccination, in particularly with the MMR vaccines. Does it cause autism? The answer is no, it does not. The scare started in 1998, when a medical journal, The Lancet published a study by Mr. Andrew Wakefield, MD (previously hold the title Dr) that stated that the combined MMR vaccine was linked to autism. However, not long after that, The Lancet itself withdrew the article and Wakefield lost his medical licence. Investigations proved that Wakefield’s research was fraud, unfounded and biased and that there were conflict of interest. His article has led to a drop in vaccination in UK and since then, many studies were done to look into whether there were any association between the MMR and autism, but none were found. Despite that, it’s sad to know that even after 2 decades, some people still believe that it does. Sigh…


The other concern is regarding the use of Thiomersal in the vaccines. Thiomersal is a mercury-based preservative that helps prevent bacterial growth in vaccines and helps maintain the effectiveness of the vaccines. Thiomersal contains ethylmercury, which basically means that it is eliminated from the body quickly and does not reach toxic level in the blood, unlike methymercury. The level of Thiomersal in the vaccines are so small , even fish contains more of it I believe. The amount of Thiomersal in the vaccine have not been shown to cause harm or health risk.

       

Vaccines are not ‘halal’? Hmmm… I must say that it is unfair to say that those who decided to vaccinate their children do not care of halal and haram. The Malaysian Immunization Programme is decreed permissible by JAKIM. In fact, our prominent Islamic Scholar , Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi stated that the lawfulness of vaccination in Islamic perspective is as clear as sunlight. It is the duty of every Muslim to ward off harm as much as possible, and while we all believe in natural ways to boost immunity e.g breastfeeding , taking honey ( not for those less than 1 year), Habatussauda’, olive oil, that does not mean that we Muslims should deny ourselves of modern medicine that has stood the test of time. I have always believe in complementary medicine.


 I am not sure if I have covered all of your concerns but I hope this helps. You may or may not be convinced and that’s okay , as I believe conviction needs to come from one self. If you are doubtful, read further from reliable source, discuss with people who really knows and perform Istikharah. If you strongly object vaccination, my only request is that you do not pose your views on others. I am writing this merely for those who has concern and doubts, yet has not dismissed vaccination.

     

I strongly feel that we need to have these issues tackled at national level and it is the responsibility of the Ministry of Health to allay parental concerns regarding vaccination. The community needs to be educated and myths and misconceptions regarding vaccination should not be allowed to spread, or we would to have to suffer the consequences in the future.



~ Dr Zahilah Filzah, a pediatrician of Sg Buloh Hospital