Friday, February 3, 2017

Faiz open letter from a 'pakcik' (uncle)

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful; blessings and peace be upon Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.


The Declining Day (Al-'Asr)
1. By the declining day,
2. Lo! Man is in a state of loss,
3. Save those who believe and do good works, and exhort 
one another to truth and exhort one another to endurance.
'SYABAS' to Mohd Faiz Subri, our 'next door boy' for winning the 2016 FIFA Puskas Award! The word 'syabas' is used in Malaysia and Indonesia meaning well done, congratulations. Thus it fits the scenario as Faiz is the first Asian to win the prestigious award in football.
After his win, Wikipedia updated Faiz's profile: "Mohd Faiz Subri (born 8 November 1987) is a Malaysian footballer who plays as an attacking midfielder for Penang FA, a Malaysian Super League club. He is well-known for his free-kick goal which won him the 2016 FIFA Puskas Award."
To supplement my information about Faiz, I took time to read articles from various sources including news portal and newspapers and by chance came across a comment entitled 'If only Faiz could speak' by Terence Netto of Malaysiakini.
For his intro he wrote: "What’s the link between Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Malaysia’s footballer of the moment, Faiz Subri?
"Both had their moments before a mega international audience and both fluffed their lines - in English.
"Zahid Hamidi’s fumbles with English pronunciation at the United Nations general assembly last September and FIFA Puskas award winner Faiz’s embarrassing search for and halting delivery of the digital text of his acceptance speech in Zurich last night were sad commentaries on the state of English proficiency in the country.
"Time was when Malaysians were complimented on the standard of their English; now it is the stuff of embarrassment, not infrequently on the international stage, before a global audience."
Among comments posted regarding this article were:
Terence Netto, using Faiz as an example to lament the drop in Malaysian's proficiency of English is certainly in bad taste and uncalled for. How many of those EPL, Europa League multi-millionaire players speaks good English?
* Terrence, his football skills are 1000x better than yours. Don't see you winning any international awards for your English.
* I can see Terrence point here but I think comparing politicians with footballers is a bit off tangent. Furthermore, there are so many top South American football players who couldn't speak English at all but that doesn't make them less of a football player.
I think this article is absolutely unfair to Faiz! He made us proud! It is a world class award and not a 'kampung' champion. Terence, I think you should be more expose to the world out there instead of staying in front of the computer and find fault on others. I will feel as proud as I am now even Faiz choose to deliver his speech in Malay! Language is just a tool for human to communicate. It is not a must to know English obviously! Everyone have their talent in different field. I think Faiz deserve the praises from all Malaysian instead of us - Malaysian poke fun at his English! It is totally unacceptable and ruin the celebrative mode among your fellow country man which is US, 'KITA'!
Faiz is still in his twenties. Only at the end of this year he would celebrate his 30th birthday. More than 10 years I wrote an article entitled 'If I were in my twenties…' thus I was in the opinion that perhaps it may help Faiz to ponder about his future during this 'trying times' when some critics volleyed him with their 'overzealous shots'. 
Faiz's age is about the same as my eldest son who was born in 1989, thus please consider this note as an advise from a father or a 'pakcik' (uncle).
In the article I wrote: I am now in my forties. But I wished, I was still in my twenties. If only I could use the time machine, and go back to those youthful years - the abundance of energy and spirit. Who knows, it would then change my outlook and the inside of me.
Alas, it was only a dream because time flies quickly and never will be back. Scholars had divided time into three categories - yesterday (the past), now (present) and tomorrow (the future). To the thinking group of people, we have only the present because yesterday has gone and tomorrow nobody knows what would happen.

Yesterday was too far because it was history. But I would like to recollect some of the things that I did and what I should have done during my youthful years as a guideline to youths.
Seek knowledge

Knowledge is the key to success.I am not saying education because from the general point of view, education is limited to obtaining a certificate, diploma, degree, masters or a PhD. May be I'm wrong(please do correct me), but after 'becoming an adult' (they say it begins at 40),I discovered that I know nothing in the sea of knowledge.

Human beings' knowledge is only like a drop of water in the vast oceans of knowledge so could you imagine how little we know compared to what we don't. After hundreds of lessons in mosques, 'suraus' and 'tazkirah' (religious talks), only then did I realize how I longed and craved for more and more knowledge.

If you know yourself (this could be obtained by seeking knowledge), only then you will know Allah SWT and the heavy responsibilities you shoulder in this world. Our existence is not without purpose or to 'suka-suka saja' (for play only). Each and every one of us holds higher responsibilities to God, the human race and in fact everything. Everyone is accountable for his actions, even if it is as small as an atomic part of substance.

So to youth out there, don't waste your time,grazing aimlessly at the empty sky. Fulfill your days seeking knowledge,for with knowledge, you will understand that everything you do, is to seek God's forgiveness and acknowledge His Greatness. For example when you stare at the empty sky and acknowledge Allah SWT's greatness in creating without pillars and feel how small you are, then you are in the right direction to have His Blessing in this world and the Hereafter.

When you realize this,you will understand, there is no such things as unemployment in Islam. 
There is so much to do and we are short of time to make them materialize. If we were to look at the Prophet as an example, he successfully preached Islam in 23 years - 13 years in Mecca and 10 years in Medina, and died at the age of 63.
If we were to look back at our past, we will realize that we had been wasting our time.If we are now in our forties and suppose we die at the same age as the prophet, we have about 20 years left to spend our lives.If we had done 'practically nothing' during our past 40 years, just imagine what could be done in our last 20 years.

Learn foreign languages

How I wish I could communicate and write in Arabic, Mandarin and other languages. To study Islam in depth for example, one needs to master Arabic because its source, for example the Qur'an is written in that language.Other than Arabic, many books on Islam are written in English, so it is an advantage to those who master this language.

So how I wish I could turn the clock back, back into my younger days so that I could benefit the lot of spare time to learn Arabic a few other foreign languages.To know only one language is not good enough because the more languages one masters, the more opportunities one has,including in gaining knowledge.


There were many more things I wish I had done in my youthful years like travelling ( around Malaysia and the globe), writing books and polishing up my reading of the Qur'an, but I didn't take them seriously. During those youthful years, money was the setback, but wise man used to say, if you have the will, you will have the way.

Time passed, and after getting married and blessed with children, I found out that I too am 'burdened' with family's matters that I don't have enough time and energy to fulfill some of my dreams. So to guys and girls out there, please don't waste your precious time, fill them with your treasured dreams, for when time passes, it was gone forever. That precious time will never return!
Now as I am about to turn 55 this February; I have this 'special advise' to Mohd Faiz, our 2016 FIFA Puskas Award winner - once again I must say 'syabas' but please do remember that our existence in this world including awards and praises heaped upon us is only on a temporary basis.
As a 'pakcik', I sincerely hope that you would not be 'swept away' by the powerful currents of the glamorous world but take time off to spend with your family (I saw pictures of your wife and two beautiful children 'escorting' you at the airport) especially regarding the upbringing of the children. 
They are 'your assets' - insya-Allah (God Willing) if you could spend time - for example teaching them to read the Qur'an; say the Surah Al-Fatihah (The Opening) then hopefully when they were adults, each time they read the surah especially during 'solat' (prayers), you would gain rewards (pahala) from Allah SWT.
Alas, 'pakcik' only knew this 'secret' when ;pakcik' was over 50 (when 'pakcik' was in the twenties, thirties and forties 'pakcik' was too busy to even go to 'masjids' and 'suraus' to attend 'takzirah' there); thus 'pakcik' hopefully hope that you Mohd Faiz would realize the situation - yes chase for both worlds (this temporary world and the Hereafter); from ayah 201 of Surah Al-Baqarah, we recited: "Our Lord! Give us in this world [that which is] good and in the Hereafter [that which is] good and protect us from the punishment of the Fire." - ES

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