Tuesday, 26 December 2006

A better way to overcome spousal (and kinds of) arguments

Ustaz Abdullah, a friend of my family, shared with us a very interesting observation. As an ustaz, he sometimes plays the role of mediator for married couples who are weathering some of the most stormiest phases of their marriage.

Usually, when the arguments starts to escalate to a breaking peak, both sides will always blame the other for everything that has gone wrong. Vis-a-vis, they both will try to convince the mediator that they are the one suffering from all this.

A good mediator would often suggest the spouses to go back, reassess the entire situation and come back when everything has been cleared up. And here's the interesting part: once the two has put everything into perspective, the opposite thing happen. They would instead willingly own up to their mistakes and would even go to defend whatever the other is trying to admit.

This happens almost every time. So much so that Ustaz Abdullah is convinced that there's a third party at work. It's none other than syaitan, who would rejoice greatly at the collapse of a marriage. Syaitan's work include causing friction between two harmonious parties and people who also assume this role (batu api) can also be considered as syaitan.

During the arguments, syaitan is hard at work to make the husband and the wife angry at each other. However, when things cool down again, both spouses are able to work thing out because syaitan has left.

What's sad is that sometimes syaitan's influence will finally be gone after the words of talaq has been uttered.

How can husbands and wives avoid from this influence? According to Ustaz Abdullah, the best way is to remain calm and praise Allah by saying subhanallah. Spouses will always find themselve in situations where their patience for the other are tested. But those who successfully overcome these situations are the ones who always praise Allah, in good or bad. Praising Allah is an effective way to counter syaitan's influence. We would be able to maintain our composure and focus on the issue at hand. On the other hand, venting out anger will often lead to other bad things like verbal abuse and feelings of resentment.

Ustaz Abdullah also mentioned that in life we are often tested with people who are opposite of us. A punctual husband will be tested with a wife who's incautious about time. An disciplinarian mother will be tested with a rebellious child. And that's the way it is, since our lives is a test after all. Staying connected to Allah will help us to do right things in handling such people.

Anger will only perpetuate and eventually worsen the problem. The better approach would be to remain calm and ask the other person to help make the situation better. Be kind but firm about it.


Thursday, 21 December 2006

Out now!: Happy Hour is 9 to 5

Chief Happiness Officer, Alexander Kjerulf, has written a lot on why happiness matters in building a successful company over at his blog. Now he's happy to announce that his book, Happy Hour is 9 to 5 is now available in bookstores or purchasable as a PDF e-book. He's even been generous enough to upload the entire content of the book over at his website. I like his message very much: that it's the happiest workers who are the best workers and there's nothing wrong with treating your work as fun (officers and managers, do take note). If you want try out some his ideas, check the book's workbook.

Wednesday, 20 December 2006

IE 7 and Opera 9.1

Was it fate? My Windows XP Automatic Updates finished downloading for me Internet Explorer 7 (IE 7) at about the same time Opera 9.1 came out.

Are you using the latest IE? If not, I suggest you do. IE 7 is a huge leap forward by Microsoft (albeit, a long overdued one). I was skeptical about it at first, but after a while I have to say the IE team has done quite well. IE 7 even does certain better compared other browser like RSS feeds handling. The good news doesn't stop here: tabbed browsing, page zooming (like in Opera), pop-up blocker, phishing filter, better printing options and a revamped, cleaner-looking interface are just some of the newly-added improvements. IE 7 certainly defied my skepticism, and if they continue to improve like this, I may have to like Microsoft again. That aside, marvelous effort, IE team.

Are using Opera? If not, then you should. Honestly, you're going to miss out on one of the best browsing experience accessible to Man. It was the one that introduced me to tabbed browsing. If anything, Opera is one of the fastest browsers around, if not the fastest. It loads itself and webpages swifter than others, as far as my senses are able to notice. What else does it have under its hood? How about automatic BitTorrent support, session saver (another first by Opera, I believe), tabbed browsing with thumbnail preview and note-taking capability? Don't just take my word for it, people, give Opera a whirl yourself.

Monday, 18 December 2006

Recently-bought books (and a few free ones)

I went to Pay Less Book Store clearance sale in Subang last Friday with my friend Xin. We arrived at about 11.30 AM and spent about an hour browsing the selections. What caught us by surprise was the length of the checkout lines. We retreated at about 1.10 PM (since nearly everyone else were buying books in numbers that could easily fill up a small library), abandoned the checkout line, set our books aside in a box by the wall and headed for the Al-Falakh mosque (if I'm not mistaken) for Friday prayers. We came back to claim our spoils about an hour later and had lunch at the nearby A&W before heading home.

I must remind myself to allocate a few free hours for events like these. Due to lack of time, I couldn't practice some (most, actually) of the advice I shared on preparing for a book sale.

Despite the time constraint, I managed to grab a few books that I think I will enjoy. Xin took home 5 books, one sci-fi and books from the Jean Auel's Earth's Children series. I had to put a few titles back on the shelves to save some money for the next trip to a bookstore, but overall I'm happy with my rezeki for the day.

Like most male readers, I tend to gravitate towards non-fiction. I bought two memoirs by Rick Bragg, All Over but the Shoutin' and Ava's Man. He was former journalist of The New York Times. The books are on his childhood in the Deep South Alabama.

I caught this one right before leaving and I'm currently reading it. Home by Choice is an in depth examination of the role of a stay-at-home mother and a rebuttal to the feminist-spawned notion of 'being "just a housewife" destroyed women's potential and caused brain rot', to quote a line from the book. One of my main motivations for reading this is explore solutions that would allow women to fully play their roles as mothers and earn an income at the same time. I don't know if we're seeing the same thing, but I do think that the current situation is unhealthy (or perhaps even hazardous) for the mental well-being of the future generation. Women can become industrial workers, managers or CEOs (and a lot of them are good at their job). The issue here is that we can find people to fill the roles of the industrial workers, managers or CEOs; but there is no one that can fill in the role of mothers other than the mothers themselves. I believe mothers do understand this, but society has no real idea how it is extremely important for mothers to be there for their young children. This book is not about guilt tripping working mothers into full time housewifery, but it is a despairing plea to every one of us to reconsider our decisions in order to ensure that our children will not suffer in this progressively chaotic world.

How much did I pay for these 3 books? RM13. Xin got his for RM12.

I also got a few other books for free.

The Bootstapper's Bible is a book by Seth Godin on the bootstrapper state of mind. I highly recommend this e-book for anyone as a business read and especially for those looking for starter's guide in entrepreneurship. It's currently being offered as a free download only until this 30th December at ChangeThis.

I must thank Jiwa Rasa for his review of this book. Mengapa Kami Bantah!: Penggunaan Bahasa Inggeris bagi Mengajarkan Sains dan Matematik is a collection of academic writings on the highly-debated (not out on the open, anyway) issue. My personal feeling is more on the process of evaluation of the proposed idea, a few years back then. No pilot group, no open discussions with education experts and the speed of which everything was implemented are some of the things that still bug me till this day. I just downloaded this e-book from the Kongres Bahasa website a few hours ago. I hope it will open our eyes, and hopefully the policy makers' as well, to what is happening and what the academicians have to say.

Tuesday, 12 December 2006

Can Ubuntu Live CD read my USB thumbdrive? Can.


It was one of those 'gatal nak cuba' moments. Early evening with nothing urgent to do, I popped in my Ubuntu Live CD and wondered if it could detect USB thumbdrive. My USB thumbdrive is formatted as FAT32 and I hear Ubuntu is able to read it.

Oh? What's this? Ubuntu Live CD really CAN detect my USB thumbdrive. In just seconds. I opened my Business Law assignment, typed in Word .doc file format, without any problem with OpenOffice.

I even tried to open a PDF e-book that I saved in the USB thumbdrive. No problems here too. It wasn't opened using a Linux version of Adobe Reader, but another PDF software that I forgot its name called Evince.

However, I couldn't open the video file I had in the USB thumbdrive because the necessary codecs weren't available.

The screen caps above was taken using a tool in Ubuntu. It was a snap to use. Windows sorely needs to have something like it.

Verdict: Another reason for me to seriously consider using Ubuntu Linux. 'Makin kenal, makin cinta (are you listening, Microsoft?) Hehe.

POSTSCRIPT: The title of this post is actually patterned on the speaking style of one of my former teachers, Dr. Al-Irhayim, an Iraqi and one of the founders of my previous faculty. He speaks Bahasa Melayu with a rather remarkable fluency. And as we can see, he's mastered Manglish too.

Friday, 8 December 2006

Adobe Reader 8: sleeker and faster

Adobe recently released the latest version of its PDF reading software, Reader 8. Reader 8 is noticeably faster and has a newly designed interface that will probably make the previous versions of Reader look so last millenium. Other newly-added refinements include tools for working with PDF documents and a smaller size. Far too early for me to tell whether I like this version or not, but so far, it's not bad.

Saturday, 2 December 2006

Tak laku

Saya pun tak sedar bila masa not RM10 ni sampai ke tangan saya. Kedai, bank, semuanya tolak bila saya hulur not ni.

Nilai dunia, masa tu saya terfikir. Sekejap saja tempoh lakunya.
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