Thoughts

Ulang Tahun ke-8 FirdausAriff.com

Saya mula menulis blog sejak Julai 2003 pada usia 17 tahun – pada waktu itu Blogger.com masih belum dibeli oleh Google. Sekarang usia saya 34 tahun maka sudah lebih separuh kehidupan saya telah tercatat dalam blog.

Dulu saya pakai nama Ibnu Ariff tetapi bila dah nak kahwin tu saya tukar persona online saya kepada Firdaus Ariff. Domain FirdausAriff.com dibeli pada tahun 2012 daripada Google.com dan saya terus berblog menggunakan enjin Blogger.

Tahun lepas saya cuba menggunakan enjin Ghost dan buat subdomain untuk pandu uji. Pengalaman menulis memang best, tak serabut macam Blogger dan WordPress. Namun dari segi teknikal terlalu banyak kekangan dan tidak menyokong eCommerce. Malah nak import posting dari Ghost ke WordPress pun tak boleh!

Jadi dalam musim PKP ini saya sibuk buat projek WordPress jual konten digital dengan beberapa penulis. Dah masuk PKP3 baru sempat buat untuk diri sendiri. Itu pun banyak cabaran dan halangan walaupun sudah banyak kali setup website WordPress.

Antara cabaran besar adalah mengekalkan URL stail Blogger untuk posting-posting lama. Kemudian adalah untuk memindahkan data bertahun dari pelbagai blog. Konon untuk menjaga positioning, sepanjang 8 tahun lepas ada banyak blog niche yang saya buka untuk projek dan minat tertentu.

Renjatan akses Disk server dah cukup untuk korupkan database WordPress

Nak jadi cerita pula, website ini kena DDOS apabila dipindahkan keluar dari Blogger minggu lepas.Kelam-kabut dibuatnya nak pasang Cloudflare dan segala macam security lain. Lupa pula bila website dah lama ada banyak ancaman. Lupa bahawa selama ini semua itu diuruskan oleh Google, sekarang hadaplah sendiri.

Sepanjang 8 tahun lepas FirdausAriff.com banyak tertumpu hal-hal bisnes dan marketing – lebihnya menjadi saluran untuk saya dapat klien. Tapi rasa tak puas, sebab ada banyak sisi lain dalam kehidupan ini yang menarik di luar bisnes.

Persetankan hal positioning – biarlah orang keliru saya ni konsultan, videografer, tukang masak atau pendiri startup. Apa yang penting, saya nak tulis blog!

Imagination + Accurate Throwing = Superpower

Research had shown that there’s two things that separated human from the rest of the animals:

  1. The ability to imagine
  2. Accurate throwing capability

These two ability combined is enough to make us able to kill all other animal no matter how ferocious. With our imagination we were able to devise traps and coordinate attacks in groups. Once the beast is trapped we can simply kill them off with projectiles.

The sharpest claw and the longest horn are no threat to human once we can predict the attack and kill the beast from a distance.

To think of it, the military drone is the direct descendant of these two unique God-given capability. We just imagine where we want it to go (including places we haven’t been) and we can throw any weapon with uncanny precision.

Seputar Istilah Rumah Tangga

Terfikir pagi tadi tentang istilah rumah tangga.

Bila rumah itu bertangga, maknanya kedudukan yang tinggi.

Oleh itu, walaupun orang Melayu sekarang tidak lagi tinggal di rumah bertiang perkahwinan tetap disebut berumah tangga kerana membina institusi yang bertaraf tinggi.

Boleh kata senada dengan istilah mendirikan masjid.

Europe is Dying

I don’t usually remember what being said during teh tarik sessions. It’s more recreational than serious business anyway. But one conversation from did stick out in my mind.

It was with Dr. Ridhwan Fontaine, a lecturer from IIUM. He’s originally from the UK but somehow ended up here, married a local and staying here for good.

I didn’t specifically asked for it but he told me the reason why he left UK in particular and Europe in general. He said that Europe is dying. Some elaborations was given but I didn’t remember.

This is way before the Greece crisis and BREXIT so I was puzzled by his statement. At that time my wife still harbor some ambition to do Masters in UK. So Europe is still seen as somewhere to flourish.

Fast forward to 2019, only then I understand what he meant. Sometimes things just need time to surface.

Barakah

The bottle that prompted this post

I’m not looking up any book or scholars here but I remember a friend described it as sufficiency. When you have barakah, limited resources is enough to satisfy you. If not, plentiful stuffs can’t ever satiate you.

Sometimes we are tempted with high paying projects or job that our heart don’t fully at ease with. We go on doing it anyway thinking that we can save that extra money to do something good.

Most of the time, the money just disappear.

I theorize that for one we can’t cheat ourselves. At the back of our mind we know the money is not pure so we ‘self-sabotage’ to get rid of the money.

The other thing is that doing work that we don’t like is mentally and emotionally draining. That made us weak to resist the temptation to spend our money like crazy. Or to put it the other way around we pamper ourselves to make up for the trauma of the terrible work we have done.

Maybe that what happened psychologically when we don’t have barakah.

Hijrah vs Modern Emigration

Hijrah vs Modern Emigration

In the run up to GE14, some of my friends did talk about leaving Malaysia for good if things don’t change. Things did change but the same people still talks about emigrating.

On the other hand, another friend reaffirms his commitment to be here for good despite lucrative career path overseas.

That got me thinking, as a Muslim what justifies someone to leave. This is not a fatwa of sorts but trying to see Rasulullah’s Hijrah in our modern context.

The first fact that strikes me is that Rasulullah didn’t move ‘out of country’. Granted there wasn’t a modern nation state as it is now. But the fact remains that Medina is still an Arab city populated with Arab tribe speaking Arabic.

The Masjidi al-Haram (Kaaba) complex in Mecca is always busy with pilgrims during the hajj season. Keeping things tidy and organised thus becomes a challenge. Thankfully the  staff are working round the clock! The are also efficient and have a unique way of doing things to ensure that the facility is comfortable for all. For this photo, I tried to capture the  team work and the fast motion of running & mopping.
Photo by Adli Wahid / Unsplash

On the other hand emigration as we usually discuss is moving to a first-world, white-majority, English speaking country. So there’s a stark contrast there.

Once in Medina, life is not exactly walk in the park either for Rasulullah. He challenged and changed the status quo. Brought justice to the oppressed and united warring factions. Not to mention fighting skirmishes and battles.

Comparatively, Medina was perhaps less oppressive as compared to Mecca back then. There are groups that’s more open to his ideals and there’s no death threats hanging over his head.

The fact remains that he changed Medina and later reformed Mecca as well. He didn’t stop and just enjoyed himself after receiving material support from the people of Medina.

Putting the fact into perspective I think the bar is rather high for one to leave your people for good. Unless one can bring significant benefit to society at large (or one’s life is in danger), then don’t bother.  Each of us owed a lot to the village that has raised us and it’s up to us to raise a better next generation.

Attempting to Go Deep

Photo by Mohamed Ben Zineb / Unsplash

Since reading Cal Newport’s Deep Work, I tried to adopt some of the strategies to go deep. In fact, some of it started earlier as Ramadhan kicked off.

  1. Logged out of Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. This really cleared out my head. No political stories to spoil my mood.
  2. Thankfully Facebook made separate app for Messenger and Page Manager. So I can get my work done without going the messy front lawn of the Newsfeed.
  3. Use native app to access Basecamp & Ghost. Less distraction, focus to the task at hand.
  4. Dedicated desk and office outside of home. I’m grateful Hj. Saidy offered to use his place. No matter how distracted I am at the home office when I came here I got to clear the distraction and focus again.
  5. I do kill some time with YouTube and Netflix but the contents didn’t rile me up as Facebook’s Newsfeed. As long as there’s no local political news content shows up I’m good to go.
  6. Now I don’t turn on music when I commute to and fro the office. Train my mind to tolerate boredom. That allows to go deeper when doing work that matters.

That’s it for now, no point trying to add too much new habit as it won’t stick. One at a time and add new one as the old one had firmly rooted.

Why Philanthropy Alone Can’t Fix Inequality

All Hands On Deck
Photo by Perry Grone / Unsplash

I think for the first time ever someone from the 1% explicitly calls out philanthropy in relation to inequality. This is an excerpt from Abigail Disney’s testimony to House Financial Services Committee. Read the full statement here.

Philanthropy is often offered as the answer to the problem of inequality. While wonderful, philanthropy is not the answer because these problems are not a question of personal choices or individual behaviors. They are the consequences of structures that create and then enforce a deeply unfair and inequitable society.

Philanthropy offers a man a fish, even teaches a man to fish, but persistently fails to ask why the lake is running out of water…

Philanthropy offers a man a fish, even teaches a man to fish, but persistently fails to ask why the lake is running out of water, or why the man does not know how to do what his ancestors knew perfectly well how to do and did every day.

Philanthropy supports art and education and many indispensable cultural institutions, and we should all be grateful to the donors who take this job on. I do not question the generosity it entails.

Philanthropy that helps the poor is in many ways an even more admirable form of the art, because it offers benefits that the donor cannot possibly enjoy him or herself.

But in attempting to address the consequences of deeply unfair economic structures—the very structures, in fact, that make philanthropy possible—even the most generous charitable giving uses the master’s tools that can never dismantle the master’s house, to borrow a metaphor from Audre Lorde.

Even if philanthropy could face its fear of asking where all the money is coming from, it still cannot work at large enough of a scale or in enough unison to address the problems I am talking about. Even the largest philanthropy is dwarfed by government programs like Head Start, Food Stamps, Social Security and Medicare, each of which has proven effective and has already lifted many millions out of poverty.

Blog vs Facebook Friends

Blog vs Facebook Friends

Reflecting upon my online adventures since 2002, it is clear that friendship from blog are superior than those forged on social media. Don’t get me wrong, you are not worse if I known your from social media but the majority of lasting friendships came from blog. Despite higher friends and follower count on social media, the overall chance of forming a meaningful friendship is much lesser.

Maybe there’s too much noise on social media – so it’s simply difficult to hold a meaningful conversation. Blogs are more intentional and less geared towards virality (which is largely superficial).

So here I am blogging again to reconnect first with myself and hopefully forge new friendships in the future.