Monday, June 28, 2010

Of Birobidjan, Palestine and prison

Try typing this is Google Map.
Birobidzhan, Jewish autonomous district, Russian Federation

It turned out that Isreal was not the first Jewish state. There was actually another land that was proposed as the Jewish homeland, at least 20 years before Israel was born.

Say hello to Birobidzhan, or alternatively spelled Birobidjan.

Here is the government homepage (let google translate the website first if you can't read Russian), and here is a 48-page booklet that was published by the American Birobidjan Committee in 1948, the very year in which Zionist seized Palestine with the mendacious claim that only a new state of Israel could offer a safe Jewish homeland. (source)

However, for some reason, Palestine and the Palestinians became the victims of the illegal occupation, having absolutely nothing to do with the antisemitism issue in Europe.

Allahu'alam. Allah knows best.

Maybe, this is His way of reminding us Muslims to wake up and free ourselves from prison. He brings us calamity to remind us that there is something wrong with how we live our lives nowadays.

Are we in a prison? Oh yes we are. The prison of mind. We have been taught that the world is everything and that we should work hard for it. We have been brainwashed by the media to think that the Western lifestyle is the best for mankind. They are all in the TV, internet, magazine, newspapers, radio, soap operas, theatres, cinemas, posters and everywhere else.


Our children believed that in these modern world, they should play Playstations, watch TV all the time, and hang out with friends after class in shopping complexes for no reason.

Prada in Tokyo

Our sisters believed that being modern is to shop at Prada, wear very little clothing (but unbelievably expensive), and have a stunning body for the boys to look at.


Our brothers believed that being modern is to flirt with girls, have lots of money and spend them like there is no tomorrow.

KL Party

Our whole generation believed that the modern lifestyle is sex before marriage, drug dealing, and all-night party.

Are you in that prison? If you are, it is time to wake up.
Question ourselves, "Who are you?"

The answer is not in your name nor your father's, not even your ancestors'.

Look at the sky, look at the trees, look at the sun, look at the moon.
Observe every single thing around you.

Who are you?

Friday, June 18, 2010

First Year presentation

This is the story of our own Malaysian Pavilion in the recent Shanghai Expo.

"Our architecture, it is not typically Minangkabau per say. Minangkabau is two buffalo horns. Ours is a tilted rooftop. Why? We have to have a pavilion that catches the eyes of everyone that comes in... Ours is so, so Malaysian tradition."

"There will also be an interactive traditional games and activities such as congkak and batik printing, foodstalls featuring hawkers' delight and even a putting green.

The 20 million ringgit Pavilion project was led by the Tourism Ministry, with the participation of other ministries. (apparently it took RM 35 mil to construct)

This is the first time that Malaysia is building a pavilion of its own for the prestigious event held every 5 years."

source (thestaronline)

It really sounded like a first year presentation. Assuming that we, as readers (particularly architecture students who read this) were to be the guest crit, what would we have to say?

I'd say,

Its a good effort. Really. I mean its the first time, and its large scale and what not.

But, next time, please don't involve politics. Architecture is a knowledge of form. You'd need 5 or 6 years to learn how to do more with less. Have a look at Australian pavilion. It was designed by a well-known architectural firm Wood Marsh, not a government body.

Goodluck with portfolio.

  • Putting green? Apa kaitan Malaysian tradition dengan golf? Aduyai. Kalau sawah padi faham la jugak.
  • I heard a lot of local architects (Australian) criticizing Malaysia's architecture as figurative. I would have to agree, sadly. Figurative is like, you just like looking at the Quran, instead of reading its content, glad tidings, warning and so forth. Get it?
  • RM 35mil. Ya Allah. Berapa banyak rumah dah boleh buat di Palestin.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Portfolio Design Studio 7

Design Studio 7, semester 1 2010

Studio : Alter
Brief : Alteration/extension/addition to Melbourne Airport
Project: Glocal Terminal
Tutor : Brent Alpress

There is already enough architecture around us. All we have to do is to take and re-construct it in an-other way. It is the act of misappropriation. It may actually be an appropriation of the previous one.

Melbourne Airport has undergone a series of extensions over the years. Almost everything was designed badly; everything seem ad-hoc. Hence, the Glocal Terminal was proposed. It is essentially an-other terminal, extended from the International Terminal (T2). The difference is, it is for public. It stands on the other side of the ‘gateway of Melbourne. If the airport terminals are only for certain people, the Glocal Terminal serves both the local and international visitors. Public events take place such as exhibitions, conferences and lectures.

It uses the same generic construction systems, but composed carefully to enhance the spatial quality. Some of these generic systems include the traveletors (which is used as ramp in the architectural institute), array of columns (which defines the edge of the spaces, juxtaposed against the slender window frames), and roof structure (which are exposed to mimic the hangar environment for the aviation archive).

The landscape (the hexagonal rose garden) was a great discovery. Almost no one goes there, despite the fact that it used to be a major part of the Airport design. Even the early renders were drawn to include the hexagonal landscape elements.

Therefore, part of the design strategy was to bring the landscape back in the public realm. This was done by remotivating the existing garden, bringing back the demolished landscape and doing some landscape design. The landscape shall adopt the typical landscape elements that are available in runways.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

LOVE (is not supposed to be controversial)

I have always wanted to write about love. Unfortunately, I'm not poetic enough. I can't write beautiful phrases. It would sound plain. Boring. So, I was really really glad that I found this article by Tariq Ramadhan. Its a really beautiful piece of writing. Here it goes:

It will be noted that the ancient spiritual traditions of both East and West systematically direct the human consciousness towards Nature. Nature is a school, and an initiation. The elements are there, have surrounded us since childhood, and we are used to them. The awakening of spirituality consists in seeing them differently, in seeing in them signs, celebrations and songs, hymns and prayers to the cosmic order, universal archetypes, the gods or the One.

That conversion in our gaze is a conversion of the heart, and marks the transition from the state of one who observes to that of one who loves.

Our capacity for knowledge [connaissance], recognition [reconnaissance] and wonder comes from the depths of our subjectivity, from the ‘self’, our consciousness or our hearts. It means that we must distance ourselves from the ‘immediate’ gaze, a disposition of the mind and heart, a yearning for proximity, and often for meaning.

The old and the familiar then become new.

We see other things, things we had overlooked, failed to see or notice … or neglected altogether. The elements reveal themselves to us to the precise extent that we are revealed to ourselves, that we see more deeply into things, and that our gaze changes and becomes more intense.

Our hearts becomes more understanding, our spiritual discernment grows, our imaginary horizons expand ... and we feel more LOVE.

Whilst the age of frenetic progress and speed encourages us to escape boredom by constantly offering us something new and an ever-expanding range of ‘new products’ and blind consumerism, spiritualities, religions and philosophies ask us to look more closely at what is old, and to find something that is perpetually new within it because, to paraphrase Heraclitus, we never look at it twice in the same way. It is a question of finding something extraordinary in the most familiar and ordinary things: Nature, the sky, the elements, our environment and the people with whom we are most familiar. It is a matter of changing the way we see.


Certain people are just not into reading. So, here's a video that could help convey the core message. A video that narrates to us the purity of love.

When we are in love with Him, anything is possible.
This is the first step that we need to take before tackling all other issues.

the month of love is coming soon. Ramadhan al Mubarak!
I'd suggest we start training ourselves to fast now. Every Monday and Thursday, yeah? InsyaAllah.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Kembali kepada tarbiyyah

Setiap perkara yang berlaku pasti ada pengajarannya. Peristiwa di Gaza juga tidak terkecuali. Semenjak 1948 sehingga kini, penderitaan di Palestin tidak pernah berakhir. Hanya dunia yang sering terlupa. Maka Allah mengingatkan kita kembali, tahun ini melalui flotilla LL4G.

Ianya bukan sekadar isu kemanusiaan. Bagi seorang Mukmin, Palestin jauh lebih berharga dari itu. Tanah Palestin ialah tanah suci ketiga umat Islam. Di sana kiblat pertama kita sebelum ditukar ke Masjidil Haram. Di sana terletaknya memori Isra' Mi'raj. Al Aqsa menjadi tempat persinggahan Rasulullah di dunia, sebelum naik ke langit. Di situlah Rasulullah SAW mengimami semua nabi yang lain.

Isu Palestin, bagi seorang mukmin, ialah isu akidah. Maka, cara kita berhadapan dengannya tidak cukup dengan hanya mengikuti berita sahaja. Tidak cukup dengan menyatakan ketidakpuashatian semata-mata. Tidak memadai dengan demonstrasi.

Semuanya penting dan perlu dilakukan, tetapi yang lebih penting ialah ia harus kembali kepada usaha untuk mengubah diri kita sendiri, dari seorang yang pro-dunia, kepada seorang yang pro-akhirat. Hubungan dengan Allah SWT perlu diperkemas. Kembali kepada tarbiyyah al-Quran dan as-Sunnah. Dalam surah ar-Ra'd ayat 11, Allah menegaskan Dia tidak akan mengubah nasib sesebuah kaum itu sehingga mereka mengubah keadaan yang ada pada diri mereka sendiri. Islah diri kita, ubah pemikiran pesimis kepada optimis, malas kepada rajin, individualistik kepada berukhuwwah, materialistik kepada zuhud, etc..

Mayyit kepada Muharrik.

Bagaimana keadaan diri kita sekarang? Adakah kita sedar tanggungjawab kita sebagai manusia?

Saya kongsikan sebuah sajak oleh As Syahid Abdul Wahab Azam, bertajuk 'Sujud yang Merdeka'. Kata-kata inilah antara ungkapan yang sering dituturkan oleh naqib pertama saya, sehingga ianya melekat ke hari ini.

Sujud itu menundukkan dahi,
tetapi memuliakan manusia yang bertakbir kepada Allah
dan bertasbih kepadaNya

Si Jahil menyangkanya belenggu kepada hamba
Tetapi sujudlah yang memusnahkan segala belenggu

Di dalam kemuliaan sujud,
semua akan tunduk kepada muslim yang sujud
Seluruh alam takut kepada kata-kata dan perbuatannya
Wajah dan seluruh anggotanya diletakkan di muka bumi
Namun dirinya menggoncangkan gunung ganang

Meruntuhkan syirik
menjadi was-was di dalam diri si jahil
tetapi membangunkan segala generasi di dalam
kerana hati ada perjalanan yang menundukkan bumi
lantaran kehebatan dan kebesaranNya
sujud kepada Allah dan mengesakanNya, lalu mantap dan
Terhapuslah setiap penzalim yang sombong

Barangsiapa menghayati sujud ini,
dia menikmati kepimpinan dan ketuanan
di muka bumi, dengan keagungannya, rahmat dan

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Pembangunan Parasit: negara haram Israel

Salah satu analisis pelajar tentang pembangunan di Taipei

Semester ini, saya banyak belajar dan menganalisa pembangunan bandar di negara-negara Asia. Orang putih menggelarnya Asian urbanism. Tokyo, Beijing, Shanghai, Seoul, Vietnam, Malaysia dan banyak lagi negara-negara Asia yang lain.

Kebanyakan bandar mengalami pembangunan yang sungguh pesat. China dikatakan membina satu bandar baru setiap hari. Globalisasi telah memudahkan mereka untuk mengeluarkan tender kepada firma-firma antarabangsa seperti LAB di Australia. Pembangunan di Jepun juga tiada kurangnya. Untuk mengatasi masalah kesesakan lalulintas di atas tanah, di Shinjuku mereka mengambil langkah membuat laluan bawah tanah yang turut memuatkan kedai-kedai di sepanjang laluan untuk menggalakkan orang ramai menggunakan laluan bawah tanah. Seoul kini menjadi hub untuk World Design Capital. Banyak pembangunan terancang yang telah dilaksanakan. Di tengah-tengah bandar Seoul, terdapat Sungai Cheonggyecheon yang dahulunya telah ditutup untuk dijadikan highway, sekarang telah dipecahkan dan dibuka kembali menjadi sungai. Teknologi canggih digunakan untuk memastikan sungai yang telah mati itu mengalir semula, dan memastikan agar saluran sungai tersebut menggunakan air yang telah dikitar semula.

Pembangunan oh pembangunan.

Sememangnya amat menarik untuk dikaji. Tetapi ramai yang menjadi leka dengannya.
Ramai yang memandang kepada bandar yang dibangunkan, amat sedikit yang tahu mengenai bandar (atau negara) yang dimundurkan oleh pembangunan bandar yang lain. Pembangunan parasit.

Dalam masa beberapa tahun sahaja, negara haram Isreal telah menjajah Palestin. Ramai yang tidak tahu.

Pembangunan negara haram Israel yang telah meragut nyawa yang tidak bersalah dan mengusir penduduk Palestin. Jumlah pelarian Palestin (termasuk keturunan mereka) telah mencecah 4.62 juta pada tahun 2008, berbanding 711,000 pada zaman awal pencerobohan Zionis ke tanah Palestin pada 1947 - 1967.

Israel menafikan hak kemanusiaan, membina tembok dan mengawal import dan eksport barangan di sempadan-sempadan 'penjara Gaza' dengan tidak munasabah. Barang yang boleh dieksport dari Gaza hanyalah barang seperti strawberry dan bunga (?). Aduhai. Kereta, bahan binaan seperti konkrit dan jentera tidak dibenarkan masuk. 80% penduduk Gaza terpaksa bergantung kepada bantuan kemanusiaan. Kadar pengangguran hampir mencecah 50%. Kehidupan penduduk Gaza juga banyak bergantung kepada ribuan terowong bawah tanah, yang juga mahu disekat oleh Israel dengan kerjasama MESIR. Khabarnya mereka telah membina terowong bawah tanah yang dibuat dari besi yang kalis bom.

Gambar rajah menunjukkan pelan pembinaan tembok pemisah di atas dan bawah tanah oleh negara 'Islam' Mesir.

Beberapa maklumat statistik ini dipetik dari laporan video CNN, yang saya percaya dalam masa beberapa jam lagi akan hilang dari laman utama di website mereka. Samada mereka menukar tajuk berita atau laporan tersebut sudah masuk dalam arkib.

Kini krisis Gaza kembali mendapat perhatian dunia. Bantuan kemanusiaan hendak disampaikan melalui laut. Kini, Israel menunjukkan kesungguhan untuk menghalang bantuan daripada sampai kepada Gaza sehingga sanggup menggerakkan tentera laut mereka.

Tindakan Israel menghantar komando-komando ke salah satu kapal Flotilla mendapat kritikan di seluruh dunia. Mereka menembak mati belasan orang dengan alasan hendak membela diri daripada beberapa aktivis yang membawa kayu dan benda tajam. Walaupun tidak lagi tertumpu kepada isu negara Palestin, pencerobohan Zionis, penempatan haram, kem-kem pelarian penduduk asal Palestin dan sebagainya, sekurang-kurangnya perjuangan Palestin masih mendapat simpati dari dunia keseluruhannya.

Komando Israel yang baru mendarat senyap-senyap di atas kapal Mavi Marmara milik Turki, salah satu kapal dalam kumpulan Flotilla, Lifeline 4 Gaza.

Ya, ianya isu kemanusiaan yang wajar mendapat perhatian orang ramai. Tetapi bagi umat Islam secara khususnya, kita perlu sedar bahawasanya isu Palestin bukan sekadar isu kemanusiaan, tetapi ianya isu akidah.

Di situlah terletaknya kiblat pertama kita. Di situlah terletaknya Masjid al Aqsa, destinasi Rasulullah SAW di dunia sebelum dibawa ke langit dalam peristiwa Isra' Mi'raj. Di situlah bumi anbiya'. Di situlah tempat ibadah yang utama untuk orang Islam selepas Makkah dan Madinah.

Masjid al-Aqsa merangkumi kawasan yang lebih luas. Bukan setakat Dome of Rock yang berkubah emas, seperti yang selalu diiklankan di media massa.

Palestin ialah bumi perjuangan. Perjuangan ke arah membantu Palestin merupakan perjuangan yang mulia. Perjuangan yang dijanjikan akan menang. Maka bantulah dengan segala apa yang ada, dengan segala peluang yang diberikan.

Alhamdulillah Malaysia dianugerahi dengan ramai insan yang prihatin. Sumbangan datang dari pelbagai arah. Mereka di Flotilla telah berada di sana. Perjuangan mereka memerlukan sokongan kita. Tetapi tidak bermakna ruang untuk membantu berhenti dengan sekadar menyokong dan mengikuti perkembangan semasa. Mendermalah secara berterusan. InsyaAllah, usaha yang berterusan akan mendapat balasan yang manis.

Sebuah program anjuran Aman Palestin dengan kerjasama ISMA Australia untuk mengutip dana bagi menampung kos perubatan pesakit Gaza yang kini berada di Malaysia.

إِنَّ اللَّهَ اشْتَرَى مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ أَنفُسَهُمْ وَأَمْوَلَهُمْ بِأَنَّ لَهُمُ الّجَنَّةَ

"Sesungguhnya Allah telah membeli dari orang-orang mukmin diri dan harta mereka dengan memberikan surga untuk mereka."

at-Taubah 9:111


Bantuan dari darat dah dikawal, bantuan dari laut diserang, mungkin perlu juga percubaan untuk menghantar bantuan dari udara. Saya terjumpa aerodrome kecil di hujung Gaza, berdekatan sempadan Mesir. Mungkin boleh digunapakai, walaupun ada risiko diserang.

Jangan lupa menyumbang!

Ikuti perkembangan Flotilla dan Palestin di sini: