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Maria-Syamsi

From My Heart

Month

February 2012

Between Being Thankful and Wanting Progress

Written on 5th October 2011, at 0050hrs.

 

People behave differently when they eat in a restaurant.

Some eat quietly without comments.

Some curse the cook.

 

As Muslims, we’re taught not to talk badly about food.

We’re taught to be thankful for everything that has been given and served to us.

We’re not supposed to curse or swear.

 

The other day I was having lunch with a 10 year-old child and she complained and complained and complained about her food. She said it’s not what she wanted. She wanted this sauce and the staff put another type of sauce on her sandwich. So she didn’t want to eat.

 

I really wanted to smack her. I really was tempted to. Maybe if she’s my own sister, I would have done so.

But all I said was, “just shut up and eat it. It’s your rizq.”

 

It made me think, though.

 

It’s bad to frown at food. Or at anything that’s been given to us, actually. But in her case, it’s true, the staff should have put the sauce that she asked for, not anything else. It’s HIS responsibility as a worker in that restaurant.

 

Perhaps what should have been done is finish the food, and tell the staff later that he has made a mistake. It’s ok this time around but try no to do that again.

I mean, the restaurant was very busy and it would be easier to finish the already-prepared food, rather than to kick a fuss and stand there, wait in line, just to change the sauce to the correct one. By the time we get the correct sauce, we wouldn’t have the appetite anymore.

 

It’s easier to be nice, really.

 

Which brings me to another thought.

What is the difference between being thankful, and wanting progress?

Does being thankful mean we don’t progress?

Does working for progress mean we’re not thankful?

 

I guess the same goes for anything in life. Imagine, I work as a doctor and my income is this much.

Am I thankful that I could earn this much?

Should I be working for more money?

 

Imagine, we have such and such drugs in the government hospitals, but we don’t have so and so drugs, because we can’t afford it.

Should we be thankful with what we already have?

And by being thankful, do we not want to get the ones that we don’t have?

 

As Muslims, we should strive for both.

It’s quite simple, really.

 

Allah loves those who are thankful to Him.

We believe that He has decided the amount of sustenance that we’re going to get our whole life.

We also believe that we will get them, it’s just a matter of how we get it.

We believe that being thankful will increase the blessings in our rizq, our sustenance.

Blessings means happiness.

 

At the same time, we are told to work. Work hard.

We are told to earn, to spend, on His way.

We have responsibilities; to our parents, children, spouses, our society too.

Allah SWT loves people who give a lot to the community. In this day and age, rich people could do that. They have the means to do it.

 

Being thankful and wanting progress aren’t really two separate things.

Let’s see…I’ll give you my situation.

I’m a doctor.

I should be thankful that Allah has given me the chance to study, to learn, to practice.

He has given me the strength, the health and the brains to do it.

Being thankful does not only mean saying alhamdulillah many times.

It means we need to use His gifts for the good of ourselves and other people.

 

That’s where progress comes into place.

If I’m thankful for my brains, I should study more so that I could work better, and teach others too.

If I’m thankful for my health and strength, I should work harder and help more people.

 

Being thankful doesn’t mean we stay at the same level.

In fact, staying at the same level probably means we’re not using what we’re blessed with.

 

Being thankful serves to make us happier people.

Simplicity, Moderation and Modesty – Saying it the Simpler Way

Written on 5th October 2011, at 0025hrs.

 

Simplicity, moderation and modesty are the best policies.

 

The other day I had a chat with my aunt about relationships. I summarized for her what happened around me during the past 2+ years in about 5 minutes time. Really, if you’re very close to me, you’d know how much drama it has costed, and it sounds like it’s impossible to cut the long story short. But yes, I could!

 

The following statements were taken from…emm…my own tweets, actually.

 

1. My cousins don’t even remember what my wedding dresses looked like. Do you think I’ll even bother the next time around? Not too much!

 

2. Don’t complain to me if you bring back RM 10000 per month. I’ll smack you in the head.

 

3. You talk about not having enough money to raise kids but you want to shop every week and travel overseas every few months? Seriously?

 

4. I’m thankful that Allah SWT and Prophet Muhammad SAW taught us the concept of barakah and moderation. Life is much easier.

 

5. By not giving our children everything they asked for, we’re doing a lot of good to them.

 

6. Life is a lot easier and calmer if we plan to only please Allah; when we please Him, all the important people in our lives will be happy too.

 

7. When we please Allah, we save a lot of money. Then we can donate some more so we can please Him even more. It’s that simple.

 

8. It’s true, ignoring worldy things put our minds at peace. Without vanity or being materialistic, it’s easier to feel happy and calm.

Wedding Photography

Written on 28th September 2011, 2049hrs

Disclaimer: There are a few terms in here using Malay language, but I don’t think it disturbs the meaning of the whole article.

 

I’m not saying that I’m a good photographer; there’s a lot for me to learn still, but I do know what I want to achieve, and what I’d love to see.

 

I love it when wedding (or any event, actually) photos includes candid shots of the couple’s family members enjoying the beautiful day. I’m not a really big fan of posing/’control ayu’ kinds of posts…of course I’d want a nice photo of me and my husband but I’d want to know what the rest of the family is doing, how they enjoyed themselves during the wedding, what funny things happened on that happy day.

 

I’d love to see the emotions caught on camera.

Like the face of the father and mother of the bride, and groom.

The joy of the children, running around while the bride and groom are having palpitations – mixed anxiety and happiness.

The emotions of the couple before and after the solemnisation is done. I could see from a recent wedding I went to, the face of the bride was so different before and after…it’s like a huge burden has been lifted off her and she’s way calmer.

 

I’d love to see the little flower girls preparing for their important role. How the parents would try to organise them into lines and tell them to “not walk too fast but not too slowly”.

I love to see the uncles sitting in a row, at first quietly, and then they’d start chit chatting and suddenly erupt into laughter.

 

I love it natural rather than acted.

 

As there are too many cameras these days, it makes the already awkward situation more awkward during the “upacara membatalkan air sembahyang” where the wife kisses her husband’s hand for the first time, and the husband kisses her forehead. It’s supposed to be such a sweet moment for the two of them, but when photographers tell them to stay at a certain position longer, on top of the couple already being aware that the whole family is watching, it just spoils the moment.

 

I don’t like the term “nice for the photos”, be it about the make up, or about the occuring events. Everything should be natural. I was born into a family who’s not very fond of layers and layers of make up, intending to make someone’s eyes look bigger or nose look sharper, more so if it’s only for the photos. I mean, as brides we’d want to be comfortable and neutral, so that we could remember the day as beautifully as possible, not to be conscious about our makeups, fake eye lashes, hair, tiara and/or veil, the photographers…would this be nice, would this look weird in the photographs…

 

For me, being happy and confident makes a whole lot of difference to our whole appearance.

 

Ooops…back to our candid shots.

 

I do notice that, in facebook (therefore I’m sure the response is similar in ‘real life’ too), people always get excited and comment more on the candid photos rather than the posed/acted ones.

 

Like during a friend’s wedding, I couldn’t get too close to the couple, but I managed to get some candid shots when they were singing, when the cousin was singing…the photos had a lot more hits/comments than some of the posed photos that I’ve taken for some other weddings.

 

For our hari raya photos, my family members were more excited looking at the candid shots rather than the proper shots.

 

I love this one shot years ago of my brother sitting on a buggy during a wedding, and a few little boys were watching excitedly from behind.

 

There’s one photo during Jaspal’s wedding when I was busy with my camera right behind the couple. I didn’t look pretty at all in that photo, in fact my face looked really weird, haha, but somehow I think it’s a really good shot by her photographer.

 

Of course we’d want to appreciate the people who made the dulang hantaran (in which, if it’s my family, most often than not it’s my aunt who prepared them), and take shots of them. But I don’t want to see FIVE shots of the pair of shoe I gave my husband, do I?

 

I loved it when my little cousins struggle to hold the cold and sticky ice kepal, or when the little girls sit in a circle together eating their 5th helping of the delicious soto.

 

During my previous wedding I asked the photographer to take photos of my family members too. I introduced my family to them. I didn’t want the day (or photos) to be all about me.

 

I could see that many photographers take nice shots of the couple, nice portraits, nice sunset, nice hall, nice flowers, nice rings…but for me, the best photographer is the person who makes the best out of what he sees.

 

For me, the best photographers is the one who could capture not only the beauty and happiness of the couple, but also the mood, the joy, the merriment of the whole event, so that when one looks at the photo album, he/she could feel, smell and see that special day again

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