Tuesday, January 28, 2014

CHINESE NEW YEAR ESSAY in ENGLISH and MALAY

Zen and the art of blogging (an essay in English and Malay) : Translation "Zen dan seni penulisan blog" by Pauline Fan

January 28, 2014 at 8:52pm
ORIGINAL VERSION

Zen and the art of blogging
 by Azly Rahman

When I was growing up, I wanted to be Grasshopper, the character in David Carradine’s TV series ‘Kung Fu’.

Grasshopper was child imbued with immense interest in learning about what life means and how to create himself. The conversations between the master and the student intrigued me.

My interest in the philosophy of martial arts, drawn from the teachings of the masters of the Shaolin Temple, led me later in life to also study Oriental Literature and Philosophy, reading great works such as ‘The Dream of the Red Chamber’, ‘The Tale of Genji’, and ‘The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon’.

I watched numerous kung fu movies and wanted to also be like Bruce Lee, the man who synthesised Western and Eastern philosophy into an avant-garde form of martial arts.

Reading Buddhism in one of those periods of my spiritual enrichment and encountering works such as ‘The Zen of Motorcycle Maintenance’ and ‘The Dancing Wu Li Masters’, I found the idea of deconstructionism and psychology of awareness even before I plunged into the study of social semiotics in my years in New York City.

Zen Buddhism’s most famous advocate in the West is Richard Gere, the American actor who is deeply involved in the campaign for a free Tibet. Gere often speak with the Dalai Lama in making the world aware of the persecution of the Tibetans by the Chinese government.

Awareness is a key principle of the teaching of the Buddha. Siddhartha Gautama is a quintessential example of a human being who discarded the garment of nobility and elitism and came down to earth and explored the bare-nakedness of alienation and dehumanisation.

From a prince to a pauper he evolved in the final days transformed into a philosopher. His struggles against the demons called Mara and his exploration of the self as powerful cause and effect of existence itself – and how wisdoms like pearls will emerge out of deep meditations on the fate of humanity all these have become a life history example of how one can be at peace and harmony with the universe.

Cyberspace is a world of Maya with Mara shooting arrows at the enlightened ones. One has to be a Shaolin master in order to fight these demons and to continue to evolve into one piece into wise individuals.

Paid cyber-troopers in the Malaysian ‘Mahabharata’ of this millennium is a feature of this perpetually fragmented world. The industrial model has collapsed. The Malaysian monarchical state is in trouble. The Perak plague is a beginning of the Balkanisation of this Asian despotic state we are attempting to reconstruct.

Fight the demons

In cyberspace, bloggers are playing the art of making others aware of issues and in the process hopefully impart wisdom. Bloggers are artists practising the art of harmonising truth, realism, and activism.

Truth and falsehood multiply endlessly in cyberspace. At the centre of the personhood of the blogger lie awareness and the Zen-ness of the master’s craft. It is the awareness of what to do with truth and falsehood and the subjectivities and reflectivities in between that determine whether the blogger is fighting the Maras the Buddha fought, or has become one of the Maras.

In cyberspace, bloggers are educating, whether it is education for peace or for war. The more popular the blogger, the greater the impact of the message. The blogger is a weapon itself in the whole enterprise of waging war or waging peace.

In the political scene, Malaysia is being deconstructed by bloggers. It is a natural progression of the anarchic nature of the Internet. No politician is safe. You can neither run nor hide in cyberspace. It is a Matrix of the Maya world we inhabit: a world of the Maras that attacked Buddha and of the masses that stormed the Bastille.

Malaysia will continue to be destabilised by bloggers – for the better – in her evolution towards the establishment of a just republic or a republic of virtue as the French ideologues of the 18th century would say.

Politicians and pirates of the Malaysian Caribbean, ones who stole from the poor to give to the rich, are in constant fear of bloggers – especially of the Zen bloggers. The Zen blogger, like the messiah on twitter is one who does not speak ill of others in cyberspace but makes people ill by invading the inner spaces of those who abuse power and by oppressing others.

Like a Rumi poem, the Zen blogger takes the middle path in spreading a message of peace through deconstructionism. But deconstruct, the blogger must. Through right thought, right action, right conduct, and right blogging, the blogger must make others aware of what life ought to be. In Malaysia, what ought to be has become what we are wrought to be. This means we have evolved from a nation of tolerance in the 1970s to a nation of totalitarianism in the 21st century.

Like the Wu Li masters and Little Grasshopper, the blogger must know how to dance when given a sword. Like Bruce Lee, he must know how to harmonise the philosophies and create a lethal art of war in his or her work in waging peace.

Only when blogging is an art and science of educating for peace and not a dance of death in Dante’s Inferno, not when bloggers can be bought and sold for millions of ringgit by owners of the production of falsehood, that we can see the Zen and the art of blogging at play.

Bloggers must journey into the self and fight the demons within. You must, as the Sufi teachers would say, be skilled in journeying from the levels of Shariat, Tarikat, Hakikat, and Makrifat – the levels of outer and inner consciousness that define the harmonious self.

For, essentially, as bloggers we answer to our inner conscience. And ultimately, we are a republic unto ourselves, in a world in which the state is still a necessary evil.

Bloggers – beware and be aware.


Malaysiakini, 11 May 2009 

TRANSLATION by PAULINE FAN

Zen dan seni penulisan blog

Semasa saya membesar, saya teringin menjadi Belalang (‘Grasshopper’), watak David Carradine dalam siri TV ‘Kung Fu’.

Watak Belalang adalah kanak-kanak yang disemai dengan minat yang tinggi untuk belajar tentang apa itu makna hidup dan bagaimana untuk mencipta diri sendiri. Perbualan antara tok guru dan pelajar menarik minat saya.

Minat saya dalam falsafah seni mempertahankan diri, yang diambil daripada ajaran ketua Kuil Shaolin, mendorong saya di kemudian juga untuk mengkaji Kesusasteraan Oriental dan Falsafah, dengan karya-karya agung seperti ‘The Dream of the Red Chamber’, ‘The Tale of Genji’, dan ‘The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon’ menjadi bacaan wajib saya.

Saya juga menonton banyak filem Kung Fu dan juga mahu menjadi seperti hero saya Bruce Lee, orang yang mensintesis falsafah Barat dan Timur untuk membentuk seni mempertahankan diri avant- garde.

Membaca Buddhisme adalah salah satu tempoh dalam pengayaan kerohanian saya dan menemui karya  seperti ‘The Zen of Motorcycle Maintenance’ dan ‘The Dancing Wu Li Masters’, saya mendapati idea dekonstruksionisme dan psikologi kesedaran sebelum saya menjunam ke dalam kajian semiotik sosial dalam tahun-tahun saya di Kotaraya New York.

Advokat Buddhisme Zen yang paling terkenal di Barat ialah Richard Gere, pelakon Amerika yang terlibat secara langsung dalam kempen untuk Pembebasan Tibet. Gere sering bercakap dengan Dalai Lama mengenai bagaimana membuat dunia sedar akan penganiayaan orang Tibet di tangan kerajaan China.

Kesedaran adalah prinsip utama ajaran Buddha. Siddhartha Gautama adalah contoh unggul seorang manusia yang membuangkan kelengkapan status bangsawan dan elitisme dan turun ke padang dan menerokai keadaan sebenar pengasingan dan nyahhumanisasi manusia.

Dari seorang putera raja kepada orang yang papa, pada hari-hari akhirnya beliau berubah menjadi seorang ahli falsafah. Perjuangan beliau menentang iblis yang dipanggil Mara dan penerokaan diri sendiri adalah seperti penyebab yang kuat dan kesan kewujudan itu sendiri - dan bagaimana kebijaksanaan akan muncul seperti mutiara daripada meditasi mendalam tentang nasib manusia dan semua ini telah menjadi satu contoh sejarah hidup bagaimana seseorang boleh menjadi aman dan harmoni dengan alam semesta, di dalam rangka penyatuan mistik dan metafizik.

Ruang siber adalah dunia Maya dengan Mara menembak anak panah kepada orang-orang yang makrifat. Seseorang itu perlu menjadi ahli Shaolin untuk mampu melawan iblis ini dan untuk terus berkembang secara keseluruhan menjadi satu makhluk yang bijak.

Keujudan askar siber berbayar dalam ‘Mahabharata’ Malaysia pada milenium  ini adalah ciri dunia ini yang sentiasa berpecah-belah. Model industri telah runtuh. Kenegaraan beraja Malaysia berada dalam kesengsaraan. Wabak Negeri Perak (‘Perak Plague’) adalah permulaan kejadian yang mirip pemecahan wilayah Balkan (‘Balkanisation’) bagi negeriAsia berkuku besi ini yang kita sedang cuba untuk membina semula.

Melawan syaitan

Di ruang siber, penulis blog bermain seni membuat orang lain sedar akan isu-isu dan dalam proses itu mudah-mudahan menyampaikan kebijaksanaan. Penulis blog adalah artis yang mengamalkan seni mengharmonikan kebenaran, realisme, dan aktivisme.

Kebenaran dan kepalsuan membiak tanpa henti di ruang siber. Di tengah-tengah keperibadian blogger itu terletak kesedaran berunsur kraf keahlian Zen. Ia adalah kesedaran apa yang perlu dilakukan dengan kebenaran dan kepalsuan dan apakah yang subjektif dan reflektif yang menentukan sama ada penulis blog sedang  memerangi Mara yang dilawan oleh Sang Buddha, atau dia sendiri telah menjadi seorang Mara.

Di ruang siber, penulis blog mendidik, tak kira untuk keamanan atau peperangan. Semakin popular penulis itu, lebih ketara kesan mesej. Penulis blog itu sendiri adalah senjata dalam keseluruhan usaha memperjuangan perang atau keamanan.

Dalam arena politik, Malaysia sedang didekonstruksi oleh penulis blog. Ia merupakan proses perkembangan semula jadi sifat anarki Internet. Tiada ahli politik yang selamat. Kita tak boleh lari atau bersembunyi di dalam ruang siber. Ia adalah matriks dunia Maya yangmana kita adalah penghuninya: dunia Mara yang menyerang Buddha dan orang ramai yang berkumpul langsung menyerbu kubu di raja Perancis Bastille.

Malaysia akan terus digoncangkan keadaan stabilnya oleh penulis blog.  Ini sesuatu yang baik dalam evolusi ke arah penubuhan sebuah republik yang adil (‘republic of justice’) atau sebuah republik bersifat mulia (‘republic of virtue’) sebagaimana dikatakan oleh banyak ahli ideologi Perancis dalam abad ke-18.

Ahli-ahli politik dan lanun Caribbean Malaysia, orang-orang yang mencuri dari golongan miskin untuk diberikan kepada yang kaya, sentiasa berada dalam ketakutan penulis blog – terutama sekali penulis blog Zen. Penulis blog Zen, seperti penyelamat di Twitter adalah seorang yang tidak bercakap buruk tentang orang lain di ruang siber tetapi membuat orang itu sakit dengan menyerang ruang dalaman mereka yang menyalahgunakan kuasa dan  menindas orang lain.

Seperti puisi Rumi, penulis blog Zen mengambil jalan tengah dalam menyebarkan mesej keamanan melalui dekonstruksisme. Tetapi sang blogger juga mesti mendekonstrukkan. Melalui pemikiran yang betul, tingkah laku yang betul, dan penulisan blog yang betul, penulis blog mesti membuat orang lain sedar apakah kehidupan yang sempurna. Di Malaysia, apa yang sepatutnya keadaan yang wujud telah menjadi apa yang kita dibuatkan. Ini bermakna kita telah berkembang daripada status sebuah negara bertoleransi dalam tahun 1970-an kepada negara totalitarianisme pada abad ke-21.

Sama seperti Mahaguru Wu Li dan Belalang Kecil, penulis blog mesti tahu bagaimana untuk menari apabila diberikan pedang. Seperti Bruce Lee, dia mesti tahu bagaimana untuk menyelaraskan falsafah-falsafah yang ada dan mewujudkan seni perang yang boleh membawa maut ke dalam kerja beliau dalam memperjuangkan keamanan.

Hanya apabila blog menjadi seni dan sains untuk mendidik untuk keamanan dan bukan satu tarian kematian mirip Neraka Dante, bukan apabila penulis-penulis blog boleh dibeli dan dijual dengan berjuta-juta ringgit oleh pemilik pengeluaran pendustaan, barulah kita akan lihat Zen dan seni blog bermain secara harmoni.

Penulis blog mesti menjelajahi ke dalam diri sendiri dan melawan iblis yang ada di dalam. Bak kata guru-guru Sufi kita mestilah, mahir dalam perjalanan keluar dari peringkat Shariat, Tarikat, Hakikat, dan Makrifat - peringkat kesedaran luaran dan dalaman yang menentukan diri yang berharmoni.

Kerana, pada dasarnya, sebagai penulis blog kita mesti menjawab bisikan hati nurani dalaman kita. Dan akhirnya, kita akan menjadi sebuah republik kepada diri kita sendiri (‘kerajaan kendiri yang mengenali diri), di dalam dunia di mana kerajaan masih merupakan satu keperluan mahupun ia satu institusi yang durjana(‘the State as a necessary evil’).

Kepada penulis blog – berwaspadalah..

Malaysiakini, 11 Mei 2009


3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dear Dr. Azly,

Thank you so much for giving me the space to write in your truly awesome and insightful blog !

Do it right, keep doing right

Vigilantly select good ideas and the right amount of it from the incredible amount of fresh new inspirations and ideas from the social media. And combined it with the priceless wisdom of timelessness and life’s triumph over adversities ( oh help me to decisively slow down to contemplate listen ) and with Faith, Do all that is to display His attributes - compassion, justice, humility, giving and sharing, trustworthiness, peace in one’s career, family life and social life, purposefully.
Reading “Tuesdays with Morrie”, the author Mitch Albom often brought surprises to his beloved professor and his wife when the former was critically unwell.

What really transpires within the human spirit ? One could have easily sat back or felt terribly awkward to do something extraordinary, yet beautiful.

An excerpt from both : “ Life is a series of pull back and forth. You want to do one thing, but you are bound to do something else. Something hurts you, yet you know it shouldn’t. You take certain things for granted, even when you know you should never take anything for granted.

* Many ordinary people say it always takes His Grace and Step into Faith.

“A tension of opposites, like a pull on a rubber band. And most of us live somewhere in the middle. “ Sounds like a wrestling match, I say. “A wrestling match.”

He laughs. “Yes, you could describe life that way.” So which side wins, I ask? “Which side wins?”

He smiles at me, the crinkled eyes, the crooked teeth. “Love wins. Love always wins.” Mitch Albom, Tuesdays with Morrie.

Love is Inspiring

But hatred for good values and initiatives is defeating.
The love from one’s upbringing ( or lack of it for some but miracles do happen ), love from one’s faith and the slowing down to reflect erupting as gratitude for having been given a chance, continuous chances to make it in life, to think beyond self- interest and hubris, healing and positive changes can happen every person.

Hence, especially Malays, being the majority, alongside all Malaysians of the Gen - Y can decisively display the DNA of their awe-inspiring muhibbah parents and grandparents… so that their parenting skills of love, unfailing sacrifices, mindfulness and harmonious nature will not be stifled by our material wants and hubris but it spring forth… and spill into the communities exponentially.

Anonymous said...

Do good, do it more often, negate the unrest

This is the moment of time, not to rest on our laurels, but to enhance everything that is good in Malaysia and expunge bigotry, threats and unrest in the society.

Stop ! Stop !

The evidence : the banners, the wrong use of His Majestic Name in smoke screening Him of wrongdoings ? The banners, the political maneuvering, etc will be displayed as the evidence on the Day. The groups of provocateurs have been indoctrinated minus the real history of the pioneer Malaysians.

It is highly seditious to teach bad things to people and the effects are disastrous in a vicious- cycle.. Good Muslims and true Malays will not disgrace themselves. Is there such thing as having to prove one’s originality ? Yet criminals and troublemakers would disappear without a trace of identity. Only in Bolehland.
Stop the craziness in real time
Creating Hopes and Goodness, begin with self, inspire many others, too.

So let the many hundreds of thousands of good Muslims in Malaysia come forth beyond “ self, family and comfort ” to meet those good Muslims from the middle ground in the streets crying out for Better, Clean, True Democratic government … come forth, together to translate compassion, protection, justice and peace as taught in the true teachings into tangible actions in real time… each time there is craziness on the streets.

Where have all the flowers and sons of Malaysia gone ?

Some have brain drained abroad .
Hence, the baby boomers in the nation will need to press on in tenacity. With the insurmountable pressures, I am moving back and forth from the middle, in the timeless tunnel of music and songs …. to retrieve a highly recommended freedom song, Where have all the girls flowers gone for their inspiration. Never heard of it until recently.

So being the majority, where have all the good Muslims in the nation gone ? Shackled by the decades of political manipulation or - tak mahu jaga tepi kain orang when the very fabric of unity is almost disappearing … try saying it or whatever excuses to Him.

Nurture our spiritually rich DNA
Because the DNA of Malaysians are spiritually rich since the beginning of time, individually and collectively we will never do or say wash off the stench from the public ….

Most assuredly, none of us would ever sneer to wash off the stench of our elderly parents or our children will ever say it …..but perhaps, there are a few who have sneered to wash off the stench of the elderly not ours and the marginalized, but escaped being captured on gadgets.


Conduct businesses and give others opportunities in His benchmark – honesty, mercy, goodness and justice

Undo the past, magnanimously engage the Non- Malays . His benchmark of goodness is never to wreck anyone’s business and restrain them from earning a meaningful livelihood.

Earn in US / Euro dollar / big pay checks in RM, Pay likewise
Individually, as a family and corporately pay employees likewise.

With the high cost of living, does it not imply a lot if any wealthy Malaysians and expatriates are stingy in paying high wages to their employees who give the best of their life in ensuring their businesses reap successes and serve the family members with commitment while their own are at the end of the yardstick?

Anonymous said...

3/3
Give others a second, a third chance as you would need His grace

For those in position and means, be a little kinder to give someone a chance or a second chance to earn a decent living or provide someone a sustainable allowance for schooling.

It is incredibly wonderful to be informed that the first ever A&W outlet in PJ, today, it is providing good jobs to senior citizens. But be patient with them… the root beer and food will taste more awesome after the waiting. Must be due to the progressive and caring Government of Selangor’s requirement.

Always choose inspiration and hopes

And reject lies and manipulators outright. Now where is my Brave New World by A. Huxley ( pun intended ) as lives are wonderfully created with dignity as my young good Arab friends shared they were both inspired reading Unstoppable by Nick;

Perhaps, in the stillness of time, when the day is rough, be inspired by an Iraqi warfare survivor, Emmanuel Kelly’s heartfelt rendition.

Be active participants of goodwill
Spectacularly ignite tangible muhibbah unity akin to candles ( lilin mula menyala… ) then they burn away the racial hatred and the endlessly insanity.

It looks like HE is allowing everyone in Malaysia to interactively display His attributes, beginning from this writer, to everyone and restrain the contradictions within us.

Love always wins

Don’t miss the chances to recreate the history of Malaysia. And carry the legacy of our true benevolence and impart remarkable impact in wherever we are and in tanahair kita.

Hopefully as the hit song goes Go West ... to be free from tyranny, it could also be, Go West from within one’s office, Go West beyond one’s enclave, one’s kitchen, one’s gym…. slow down to listen to someone while jogging in the park.

Patronize small business outlets or small traders’ stalls as well.

Be individualistic in creating better things and services… top it up with happiness and positive vibes through sharing.

Moving on with purposes

From one’s geolocation, Go East, back to our beloved Malaysia.. undeniably there is a nagging fear, the real fear of ciplak- ing intelligence, and losing out, yet again be rest assured all good things always come from the One – definitely not a capitalist or a tyrant. Let the number of mindful Malaysians increase massively.

Be Better

For some to become better doctors, be inspired by Atul Gawande in his latest masterpiece, Better.
Note : Better - an unforgettable modern nonfiction masterpiece could be read slowly … it is compassionate, in riveting detailed accounts of medical failure and triumph, to inspire doctors and everyone to be better.

p/s

Rally swiftly and hold the fort for Selangor, let it NOT be Perak-ed. Selangorians know every elected representatives who has served them with such tenacity and integrity with its limited allocation. Remarkable progressiveness and new sustainable economies have been created… extensive social work, free water for the low income residents have been provided whilst massive number students have given such meaningful financial assistance by its business community in the private sector… Selangor has healthy coffers.

Selangorians and Malaysians abroad must peacefully petition for Selangor to be governed only by the Opposition and only by Rakyat serving representatives.

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