Mawlid Barzanji

The Barzanji Mawlid, Manaqib Press 12 Rabi’ul Awwal has come and gone again. In the past, I’ve written about a famous book of poetry about the birth of Prophet Muhammad (s) called Mawlid Daiba’i. Actually the Mawlid poetry more widely read in Malaysia is Mawlid Barzanji, named after its composer, Imam Zayn al-`Abidin Ja`far ibn… More Mawlid Barzanji

Arabic Class

After a 12-year hiatus, I’m finally taking formal Arabic lessons again. It meets once a week at night in the “basement” of the ustaz’s house who gave the talk at our surau last week. Not a basement really but a room built on the ground floor, underneath his house on stilts. The last classes I… More Arabic Class

Malay Contributions to English, pt.6: The Gong Show

While wandering around the Jalan Masjid India area last December during my sisters’ brief visit, we stumbled on a live performance in a small plaza. The show was of traditional Malay song and dance. There was a large squad of men sitting crosslegged, some with drums, some clapping, some singing lead, some chorus. The dancers… More Malay Contributions to English, pt.6: The Gong Show

Hau tu spik Malaysian

Malaysia is constantly grappling with the role of English in the country and in the Malaysian language, Bahasa Malaysia. On the one hand, fluency in English is highly prized. The government’s latest initiative to improve English skills is that Math and Science courses will now be taught in English medium. On the other hand, English… More Hau tu spik Malaysian