Friday, February 25, 2011

Teori misappropriasi

One of the generative design process that is used here in Australia is misappropriation.

If I may, in summary, it is an act of making other a precedent project in a misappropriated way.

It is fun, really. You take some aspect of a project, interpret it in your own way, and you'll get your own project.

ARM took it to the extreme, to the point that they are dragged into the court because of plagiarism. Their National Museum of Australia in Canberra, have a strong resemblance of Daniel Libeskind's Jewish Museum in Berlin. Well, at least, in the roof plan. No ordinary people would know unless they are googling the Google Earth for buildings that looks the same.

Well, yeah, it kinda feels like the similarity is too much. Anyhow, we have been doing this act of misappropriation for as long as I can remember. When we see a beautiful space, say a courtyard in the middle of a house, we would try to create a similar courtyard in our design projects. Who can claim that the courtyard space as their copyright? Right?

Our buildings, nowadays, are always about other buildings.

Like science. Scientist keep on improving their knowledge, based on the knowledge of other scientist. And they make it their own.

  • Easy to say, not easy when it comes to practice. I myself might be pissed off if someone else 'copied' or 'altered' my work without some kind of acknowledgement. Ah, the world that we live in is so self-ish. Unfortunately, we are dragged into it sometimes.
  • Those in Melbourne who would like to read a research paper on the topic of misappropriation should try and have a look in RMIT. It should be somewhere there. Google also, Brent Alpress. All these thoughts are based on the literature that he gave me when I was in his design studio. That's a reaaaally good studio.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Changing a western paradigm within ourselves

When we see a group of students gathering to discuss about their problem in mathematics, for example, we would see it as a good way to study. They have formed a study group, they will be able to discuss the problem and solution, it draws out many potentials and skills from each group member. As far as we are concerned, there is no problem with that, we would just walk past them when we see such grouping. Hakuna matata.

However, when we see another group of students gathering, reading the Quran, discussing about the tafseer of the holy verses, there will somehow be a small spark of skepticism, among some of us. Many would automatically remembers a terminology called 'usrah', or sometimes 'halaqah', or 'liqo', or some more other words that I don't know. Some would see these people as being a little bit extremist in their thoughts and actions. To some, there will be a slight feeling of discomfort within themselves. Some of us would even run away from these 'usrah' people. Well, I was once like that.

However, when we know what they are doing, it is nothing close to extremism. In these gathering, they learn how to read Quran, learning the tafseer, studying about the history of prophet Muhammad SAW and his companions, learning about akhlaq or the best of manners that Islam teaches, they would discuss about the current news to make people think critically, and some would discuss about the problems that they face in their studies.  Sometimes, they would eat roti canai first before starting the 'study group'.

So, where is the problem? Where does the skepticism come from?

A friend told me about someone who labels those women who wear hijab and purdah as extremist. How is that extremist? Just because they were studying in the Middle Eastern countries, presumably in Islamic subject (say Shariah), it doesn't mean that they have been indoctrinated with extremist thoughts. Little that they know that some of them wear as such to protect themselves from men. It so happen that some of our Malaysian sisters attract the attention of some local men who could not turn their eyes away from them.

Another example of a little bit of skepticism there.

The same thing happens on a larger scale, a world-stage scale. In the recent uprising in Egypt, when the name Muslim Brotherhood (Ikhwanul Muslimin) comes up as a major player in the pro-democracy protest, many have doubts in the MB's intention, especially the western media (which affects the way some of us think). All they wanted, and they clearly stated their stance, is that they do not seek political power, they just want the 30 yr old biased dictatorship to be brought out of Egypt and bring a reform that is best for the nation. But still some people are being skeptical towards them.

Another example. When people around the world gather to make a rally to show their solidarity towards the Palestinians, we would sometimes say, hey, we don't really have to do this. This is a little bit too extreme. We are better off signing petitions, make donations and pray for their safety. No need for demonstration. But when the World Cup or Super Bowl comes, there is no problem making huge crowds all over the place. We must show our support. May I repeat?

We need to show our support! That is why we gather massive crowds.

Between a ball-catching sport and a noble struggle to uphold the dignity of the people and their homeland, I think both deserves a huge crowd. Maybe the later deserves a larger crowd.

So, what's the key issue here?

There seem to be problem in our way of seeing things, especially things that are associated with Islam, even amongst ourselves, the Muslims.

There is a problem in our perception of the Muslim world.

Maybe, deep in our minds, we have been indoctrinated with the Western way of thinking. Once, they are so afraid of Islam, hence the term Islamophobia, that every major media that we see propagates the idea of war against terrorism aka Islam. And we 'believed'. And we are 'educated' to think in the same frequency as them.

I guess, we need to start to change our paradigm.
Have good thoughts instead of bad thoughts.
Husnuzhon, instead of su'uzhon.

When we see a Muslim group, they are not extremist until proven so. When we see a Muslim student who has beards and wears jubah, he does not have an extreme thought towards the society, goverment, and what not. He is just probably a guy who likes to have a 'defined' face and wears a free jubah that his aunt bought from Makkah from the recent hajj. Or he could be a bright student, a high distinction student who does really well in his studies, at the same time, he is also a dedicated Muslim who likes to read and memorise Quran, practice the sunnah, loves his race and nation, and likes to teach other people about the seerah of prophet Muhammad SAW.

If only we can change this negative attitude, then probably we would see a better situation around the world. Less backstabbing, gosipping, lesser trivial disputes that wastes our time and money, more development going on amongst our people and many more.

There is no harm being too idealistic. Allah SWT sees the effort, not the end result.

Wallahu a'lam.
Allah knows best.

ps: It took me 1 hour to write up this post. It takes quite some time to break down my humble thoughts via blogging, but if it can change people towards betterment, then it is worth it. I believe that "Verily never will Allah change the condition of a people until they change it themselves (with their own souls)..." (ar Ra'd surah 13: verse 11)