Kecek-kecek

Take a moment and visit a wonderful site on the language, culture and history of Trengganu: Kecek-kecek. Kecek-kecek is the home of one Awang Goneng, who introduces himself thusly:

Awang Goneng was born at a very young age, has drifted beyond the shores of Trengganu, and is feeling a crick in the neck from constantly looking back. He claims to have captured the essence of Trengganu, which, he says, was given to him by a very old man living in a cave near the Lake Kenyir. His detractors say it’s just a bottle of budu.

Elegantly written, learned and drenched in nostalgia, kecek-kecek delights with every post. In this most recent post, Growing up in Trengganu #293, 116, he describes the rainy season:

The monsoons imbued us with deep pilu wrapped in bright sarongs that village men slipped into, top end hooded over their heads as their hands grabbed the hem sides below to trap some warmth around their body. Pilu and melancholia were close cousins, but it came in chilly winds sodden by the spray of the roaring sea. In atap houses the rain poured in torrents down the pointed nipah tips, cascading down in a curtain of glistening threads of rainwater. A sudden downpour clattering on corrugated roofs, and clattering as it did continuously, mesmerised already dozy heads into an afternoon of deep slumber.

It must mean I haven’t been here long enough, because it seems almost universal amongst Malaysians to associate the monsoon with melancholy, as Awang describes so beautifully. For my part, I love the rains. There’s nothing I like better than finding myself out on the porch reading a book, sipping coffee, as the rain pours down hard and heavy.

I haven’t had the chance yet to explore the East Coast. Until I do, I’ll just keep reading kecek-kecek.

Blog Depression

Blog Depression: A public service announcement.

Funny stuff from The Nonist. Of course the material in that pamphlet has nothing to do with my hiatus. No, nothing at all.

The fifth child definitely has marked a change in our household. Each child brought its own thing, but with this one it is different. The house is now so full of activity in every little corner that there is no option but to fully engage from the moment I step in the door to the moment we’re all in bed. It is like every nonessential thing has just been squeezed out of my life, leaving behind only the very most important: job, children, worship, and… Job, children, worship. That’s about it. It has been somewhat ah gotta go. Kid’s crying.

P.S.A.

**This is not an abandoned weblog**

Whoo, this month has been unbelieveably hectic, next month looks about the same. Planes, trains and automobiles; two jobs but no paycheck for 4 months; buying a house; finishing a PhD (that’s the wife but I feel her pain); maid problems; and more! I doubt I’ll be posting much until life slows down a bit or I get a laptop, whichever comes first.

**This is not an abandoned weblog**

Path of the Paddle

Ikram Saeed from Canada keeps a blog called Path of the Paddle. If you’ve got the war on your mind, but you can’t take anymore news, check out his peice on war poetry. He’s pulled together a lot of good stuff, including poetic Rumsfeld declamations. He asks,

Why isn’t there famous modern English language war poetry? Is it because, in an age without mass conscription, poetic types don’t fight?

I think he’s onto something there…

Unqualified Offerings

I had seen Jim Henley’s site in other people’s blogrolls and loved the name. It’s one thing I can’t manage to do, to present an unqualified offering. Writing for the web on any subject at all can be paralyzing when you consider everybody who could possibly stumble on your site. So I find myself qualifying every other statement with “in my experience” and “God knows best”.

Anyway, Mr. Henley stumbled onto this site while reviewing Aziz’s Unmedia.com and Zack and Amber’s Blog (see below) and I caught some of the praise that they are more deserving of. He was struck by the emergence of moderate muslim bloggers on the internet and thought that there was enough of us by now that he should say this:

If you run a weblog, let there be no more “If the Islamists don’t represent all muslims, how come we never hear ‘moderates’ condemning the Islamists?” posts. The answer henceforth is, Because you haven’t told people.

That’s a great message, and I thank him for that. That’s a pet peeve of mine over at AltMuslim. AltMuslim is all by itself a clear example of the open, honest dialogue amongst muslims that everyone is anxious for, and yet that site is forever getting visitors demanding to know where the moderate muslims are! But maybe that’s because folks aren’t appreciating Jim’s other great point, that moderate discussion amongst muslims will not

…be an abnegation. Their repudiation of the murder of innocents, antisemitism and the stoning of women will not often also be their acceptance of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, nor even, in all cases, Israel’s founding. It will not be tantamount to support for a US conquest of Iraq (and Iran, and Syria, and Saudi Arabia, and Egypt…) and a “MacArthur-style regency” to “reconstruct their culture like we did with Germany and Japan.” Some of the thinkers we are discussing may support some of these things, others will consider them wrongheaded if not evil. “Islam” means “submission,” but not submission to the Weekly Standard.

Ha! Of course, I scan the Weekly Standard from time to time, but mostly just to check for new Stephen Schwartz articles.

More on Muslim Webloggers over at AltMuslim.

Zack’s Blog

Zack of Procrastination backs up my assertion about wahhabism and discontented youth and adds some of his own thoughts. He calls them “born-agains”, which made me chuckle. I spent my junior year in high school carpooling with a born-again kid big on christian rock. OK, I’m not mocking the faith. Or the sincerity. I’m mocking the music. Oh is that bad music. Michael W. Smith, anyone? Anyway. Zack’s from Pakistan and he promises to give some more thoughts on the emergence of extremism in Pakistan in later posts. I plan to check back.

[this post was edited]

Veiled4Allah

Al-Muhajabah was kind enough to add my page to the list of links at her extensive, worthwhile website. JazakAllah Khayr. I’m more than happy to return the favor. Among the offerings at her site are links to dozens of muslim blogs; plenty to surf through if you are looking for individual rather than institutional muslim perspectives.