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Salaam

5 months ago I’ve transferred to this wonderful place called Sabah, and I now live in the capital, Kota Kinabalu. It’s a place packed with tourist spots, so I feel like I’m on a loong vacation. It’s awesome.😀

There really are a lot of places you can visit here, but the tourist destination I’ve frequented the most is Pulau Sapi, one of the 5 islands that make up Tunku Abdul Rahman marine park (TARP).

1) How to get there?

You can go to any of the islands in TARP via Jesselton Point in the city center. The standard published rate is RM23 for a return trip to 1 island, RM33 for 2 islands, etc2. But it’s easy to bargain for a cheaper price, especially if you’re a local and got a large group.

2) Which island(s) to go?

I guess it depends on what you want to do. Gaya is the biggest island, it’s got a resort and a settlement. Manukan is the 2nd largest, it also has a resort, and you can do some water sports activities there. The beach area is quite big, and it’s a good place if you just to relax on the beach.

Parasailing = awesome. Standard rate is RM100 per person, you’ll be up in the air for about 15 minutes. But you can always bargain the price down. lol

Sapi is a good place for snorkeling, but the good snorkeling spots are a bit far from the shore, so make sure you don’t give up and just keep swimming until you see the pretty corals! I also did my PADI Open Water training there. Although I heard that it’s not in par to Sipadan and the likes, I think it’s pretty enough to satisfy newbie divers like me. And since it’s so close to home, it’s a convenient place to go diving.

I heard that Sulug is also pretty for diving. But there’s no public amenities there. So people rarely go there. I’m not really sure how Mamutik is, but all I know is that it’s got lots of sea urchins :p (but it does have public amenities, and people often go there too)

Pulau Mamutik. This is what I saw near the jetty. Sea urchins, lots of them. But I’ve also heard that it’s a good place for snorkeling.

3) Okay back to Pulau Sapi

If you go there, you HAVE to go see the underwater life. If not, it’s better to just go to Manukan. Unlike Manukan, the beach is pretty small. And also unlike Manukan, the corals are still pretty much preserved.

Pretty Sapi Island

It can get quite crowded, especially on a sunny day. But many people tend to flock close to the beach, coz I guess most newbie snorkelers are too scared to go too far away from the land. Which is good for all you non-newbie snorkelers out there. lol

I love cute tiny clown fish and I spotted quite a lot of them. There were lots of parrotfish too, and some of them are so big they kinda freaked me out. lol. If you’re lucky you’ll be able to see a huge school of fish feeding at the corals. It’s fun to follow them around.

As for diving, there are several diving spots around Sapi. Most of them aren’t so deep. Not far from Sapi there’s a diving spot called Angel Petris. It’s quite nice, but, it’s pretty far from the land and I guess it’s quite easy to miss the spot and ended up searching futilely. lol

That’s all from me🙂

 

 

Salaam!

I’ve been on a hiatus for quite a while! Lol. So much has happened, so many things I should’ve shared, but… I was too lazy =p

Recently I’ve been to Langkawi Island, on a short 3D2N trip with three friends. It was short, but fun nonetheless. A few other friends have asked me about the trip, where to go, what to do, etc etc. So i thought I’d share it here too. So here’s some tips:

1. Rent a car

It was one of the best decision we’ve made. Lol. Langkawi does not have public transport apart from taxi, and it’s quite expensive. If you plan to move around a lot, it’s better to rent a car, as the price is not that expensive anyway.

We rented a Myvi auto for RM130 for our whole period of stay. We rented it from one of the many car rental booths in the airport. There are about a dozen of car rental booths, so the competition can bring the price down quite a lot. All you have to do is haggle. lol

You can rent cars from the jetty in Kuah town as well. I’ve also seen websites/blogs that offer car rental service, but I think it’s more expensive. For example, a Myvi auto costs around RM80/day during non-peak season, which is more expensive than the price I’ve got in the airport. Furthermore you’ll have to pay downpayment, and since I don’t know how trustworthy those websites are, I’d rather rent a car I can see immediately. I hate to say this, but Malaysia does have a lot of con men…

2. Snorkeling in Pulau Payar

This was a wonder. I’ve read mixed reviews about it in Travel Advisor so I was really unsure about going there. But in the aiport we were offered a discounted price of RM90, instead of the usual RM200+ advertised in the website. Even with early online booking they say the price is RM120. So we decided to just try and see. Apparently there were people who managed to book the package for only RM80. I guess it all comes down to how good you are at haggling.

The price includes pick-up from hotel, ferry ride to the island, and lunch. It doesn’t include an expensive ‘locker service’ on the island, which costs RM30 per bag. So my advice is not to bring any valuables.

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Payar Island is a marine park, so the water was crystal clear, and there were lots of pretty fish. Two downsides though: the beach was quite small and there wasn’t much coral to see. The area that you can snorkel was limited, and it can get pretty crowded, especially in the middle part, where most of the inexperienced snorkelers tend to go.

So my advice is to go further to the end of the snorkelling area, especially the part close to the pier. It was my favourite spot. There are a lot of fish there and even the sharks tend to roam the area more, so go there if you want to swim with sharks! Lol. (no need to be afraid of the sharks as they are pretty small) There were also less people there, so you can enjoy the view peacefully. There was even a time when I ended up being the only person in the area, which kinda creeped me out as there were sharks swimming nearby. =p

As I mentioned, the variety of fish was great, but the corals are a let down. There were a lot of irresponsible people stepping on the corals, even after being reminded many times not to do it. So yeah, the corals are pretty damaged/dead.

I understand that some people may not be so comfortable being in the water so long and may need to rest, adjust their goggles, etc etc. But since you’re provided with a life jacket, you can do it while comfortably floating in the water. There was no need at all to step on anything. Furthermore, there’re sea urchins among the corals, so you may end up hurting yourself.

My advice is, try your best not to step on the corals: it’s bad to damage them, and it’s also bad if you end up hurting yourself.

3. Island Hopping

Price: RM25-30. Duration: ~ 4 hours. This one has been around for decades. Basically they’ll take you to Tasik Dayang Bunting, Pulau Beras Basah and eagle feeding, and they’ll allow you to stay on each island for around 1 hour.

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Tasik Dayang Bunting (translation: Lake of the Pregnant Maiden).  If you have a good imagination you can see the outline of a pregnant woman lying on her back, which is how it got its name.

It’s a freshwater lake, located on one of the islands around Langkawi. On the island, you can either rent the solar-powered pedal boat for RM30 for 30 minutes, or take a dip in the lake. Of course you can also sit around doing nothing and get bored. =p My friends went for the pedal boat, and I went to take a dip in the lake.

The lake is around 10m deep. It’s a natural, fresh water lake with God knows what creatures lurking inside. So rent a life jacket if you’re not confident with your swimming skill, as I was. Lol. It costs only RM5, so it’s worth it as there’s no life guard to save you. I tried putting my goggle to see inside the water, but all I could see was green, everywhere. It’s not that the water was dirty, it’s just that the lake is so friggin deep the sun can’t penetrate it. Secretly I was glad I didn’t end up seeing something I’d regret seeing. lol

The next stop was eagle feeding, which was pretty unremarkable. I was hoping to have the boat-guy feeding the eagles with meat or whatever, while we tourists excitedly take pictures. But no such thing. We just stopped, and watched. Some other passengers tried to feed them bread. Obviously, the eagle didn’t even bother to come close. lol

The last stop was Pulau Beras Basah (translation: Wet Rice(?) Island). Okay, funny name. Basically while you’re on the island, you can either swim in the sea, or try one of the water sport activities. But the price is more expensive compared to the same service you can get in Cenang Beach. For example, the price for a banana boat ride was RM20 per person instead of RM10 per person. And if you don’t have enough people, you’ll have to pay more.

The water was clean enough for snorkelling, but not as good as in Pulau Payar. My friends decided to just sit around and take pictures. I decided to just play with the fish, with the company of a stranger who was as fascinated with the fish as I was. An it’s a he. =p

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You can find a lot of fish if you go to the less crowded areas. And they seemed to like the area around the pier too. But be careful with the sea urchins, as there are a lot of those near the pier. But since the water was so clear, all you have to do is look down and be careful on where you put your feet on.

Oh and one more thing. You’re going around the islands on a speedboat. If you love thrill rides and have the wind blowing on your face, you might want to take a seat at the front/bow of the boat. It’s where the ride gets bumpiest, so you’ll be in constant danger of being thrown out of the boat, especially with big waves. But you’ll also have the best view.🙂

4. Cable Car @ Mt Mat Cincang

Price: RM15 for Malaysians. RM30 for foreigners. Basically it’s a cable car ride up a mountain. You’ll get a nice view of the sea behind you, the jungle beneath you, and the looming mountain before you. You can also spot a few waterfalls along the way. But it’s not for people who are scared of heights. Seriously.

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The view at the top was quite good. There are several platforms that provide you with a nice view of the island and the sea. There are also platforms amidst the jungle, but they were closed when I went there. Too bad.

We went there close to sunset. So the view was quite good. But you can’t stay for too long as the place closes at 7pm. I’ll recommend going there if you have time to kill and just want to sit around watching the sceneries.  Don’t bother going during bad weather though.

Accomodation

I stayed in Fave Hotel, located not far from Cenang Beach. But it’s not right next to the sea, so you either have to walk, or use their shuttle service (which is not frequent). We rented a car, so it was no problem for us =p

Fave Hotel is okay, but you might prefer a place closer to the beach. We payed around RM175 for a room (2 person per room, including breakfast). It’s got a swimming pool and free wi-fi. It’s a new hotel so everything was still new and shiny, with nice interior design. But personally I think it’s got a lack of staff. When I went there to check-in, I ended up having to wait like 15 minutes as both of the staff at the counter were busy answering phone calls.

Food

A local told us that the restaurant around Cenang Beach is a bit pricey, and it’s cheaper in Padang Matsirat. Seafood is generally cheaper than chicken, so we ate a lot of seafood. Depending on where you eat, price can range from RM10 per person to… whatever you’re willing to pay. =p With RM10, you can get rice + squid + vegetables + fish + juice, in a ‘normal’ restaurant in Kuah town. But if you go to the more expensive place, be ready to spend RM20+ per head.

Salam

If you’re the type that pay attention to the news, you’d have noticed about the riots in England. Starting in London, the riots spread to other cities; Liverpool, Birmingham, Bristol, Manchester, etc.

What caused it? The reason behind the riot eluded me, at first. There were lots of looting and burning, but the people in the pictures in the news weren’t really screaming the same slogan, or carrying a banner to send out any kind of message. So at first I just thought those were purely criminal acts.

Then I saw this link: http://worldblog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/08/07/7292281-the-sad-truth-behind-london-riot

Oh okay. Then I got it. So they’re discontent about their poverty. And they rioted because their peaceful protests weren’t heard.

There are so many peaceful protests going on in UK. Seriously, many. A lot. I wouldn’t be surprised if not all of them make it to the news. I guess that’s why these people felt the need to do something different, and rioted…

They went on burning police cars – that, I understand, as they’re pissed with the authority. But can random destruction of public property bring you anything? (apart from the joy of taking stuff you want free of charge) I saw an interesting comment on this. I totally agree on her view:

So they live in poverty, they don’t have jobs, etc and they go out and ruin the property of innocent people and those who might hire them and they steal from them. Businesses that might have helped the neighborhood or the people themselves will not want to do business there. During the L.A. riots they burned down a bank that was the first in the area to lend to minorities as well as several minority owned businesses. I’ve never understood the logic here, in the USA or anywhere else on this.

I was also thingking about this as I watched the British Pound value fall. Again. Last week before the riot it was £1 to RM 4.92 now it’s £1 to 4.86. It was even lower yesterday. These kind of stuff brings the economy down even more, and obviously that would affect the rioting poor people too.

But then again, how many of the rioters did this to prove a point? I’m sure most of them just do it for the fun of looting. And for the opportunity to be violent. And to take on someone they didn’t like. Otherwise why would there be cases of murders and beating and mugging. If they mug a politician, I’d say I get it… well, sort of. But mugging a student….? A student from a foreign country, at that. They’re just making themselves look worse.

And this is another comment that brought me thinking:

Are the youths denied education ? If not college how about vocational education ? Why is it possible for Asians who immigrate to be teachers at colleges within two generations and immigrants from certain other areas to remain in poverty for generations ? Culture ?

This comment verge on racism, but it’s true, at least to certain people. I don’t want to name countries here, but when I was in Cardiff, people from certain nationalities can be easily found in the richer part of Cardiff (eg: Roath) but some other nationalities are more abundant in poorer areas (eg: Grangetown, Riverside).

Is it really culture? I dunno. Usually people blame the environment. With lots of thugs around you, it’s easier to become thugs too. And if your family is full of high-achievers, the urge to aim high is inevitably there too. But of course you can break from the poverty cycle. There are lots of millionaires who come from poor families. In the end it all depends on how we live our life…

Violence won’t solve much. It’s something we can learn from Malaysian history. There were lots of fighters who tried to get rid of British in their local area, but in the end, independence came from diplomatic discussions. Yes, Tunku Abdul Rahman and co. weren’t successful at first and it took them years. But it happened, in the end. It all goes down to *strategy*.

Well, no matter how much I reprimand those people, it’s low chance that they’re reading this and trying to learn anything from my rants anyway. Haha. =p

But I hope those who read this will take note of these points that I came across…

 

Salam~

It’s August, and the month of Ramadan. It’s also the month where I begin a new life here in Malaysia. The life of a graduate. Hehe.

Yep. I’ve graduated. On the 22nd of July 2011. =D It was a bizarre day, with so many mixed feelings, and mixed weather as well. The rain was pouring down in the morning, but later in the afternoon, the sun was shining beautifully. Thanks to the sun, I’ve got a pretty nice picture-taking session ;p

The List of Graduates, 2011

The morning of the day went by in a blur. I met with my coursemates, probably for the last time. I took pictures with my lecturers, more importantly with my tutor and supervisor. I managed to convince my supervisor to do the ‘peace sign’ with me in the picture. lol. I wonder if a senior lecturer in Malaysia is willing to take pictures with his students while doing the ‘peace sign’..? Hehe. It’s hard to imagine.

Thus end my life as an undergraduate student.

So, at the end of July, I came back to Malaysia, again with mixed feelings. At first I was pretty much… feeling-less.I did some last-minute packing, and by the time I was on my way to Heathrow Airport, I was too tired to feel any sentimental feelings. I did notice my friend crying, though.

Then in Heathrow Airport, my luggage was overweight. It was 33kg. lol. And MAS only allows 25kg, max. The staff at the counter was pretty ruthless, and told me I’ll need to throw some stuff or pay £40+ per kg. I did some begging to some other staff, telling them that I am a final year student and has lots of stuff to bring with me back to Malaysia. It worked. They allowed me to bring 30kg, but that’s it. In the end, I had to throw some of my stuff and souvenirs that I bought for my brothers & sister. I felt sad, but not due to me leaving the home that I’ve lived in for 4 years.

Sunset over Caspian Sea

Then, after sleeping for several hours on the plane, the tired-ness was washed away. And as I watched the sunset from the plane, the sadness struck me. I began crying quietly. But I kept my head turned to the window and pretended to busily taking pictures of the sunset so that no one noticed that I was having some waterworks issue. lol.

Cardiff. I know I’ll miss it so much. And the people over there as well. There are so many things I wish I had the time to do before I left for the last time, but my time there ran out quickly. But I don’t have much regrets. It’s just that it’s such a pity to leave such a nice home.

I also noted that.. it might also be the end of my travelling days. Sure, I can travel here too, but not at the same frequency when I was in UK. Life as a student is much simpler, so I can decide to travel whenever I want (provided it’s holiday). Travelling is such a wonderful. You should try it, the further the better. Coz the culture is more different, and you can learn more. So, MOVE.

Cool video, right?😀

Now I’m concentrating on reporting back to the government. And I’ve also got an interview coming up pretty soon. I sure hope I won’t get any horrible interviewer who’ll try to make me stutter and stumble. *prays* And then, in several months, my life as pharmacist will begin. Whoa~ >.< But for now, I’m just one of the many unemployed graduates. loll.

Right. I’ll stop now. Take care! For muslims out there, Ramadan Mubarak!😀

Peace be to you🙂

I’m not much of a blogger anymore, even though I felt like writing, it’s rare that I actually get my lazy ass off to start writing. lol. But today, I feel obliged to write.

I woke up early today – around 3 am – and the first piece of news I saw was about Osama bin Laden’s death by the US forces. I was like… Wow. Seriously?

And later today, when I read BBC, that piece of  news was also the highlight of the day. Apart from pictures of Osama, there was also a picture of lots of people cheering.

But then some people also thought that the timing of Osama’s death seems a little too ‘nice’ i.e. just before the election. And then there’s also another speculation that says Osama is actually non-existent. Erm. So.. then, is this really just a ploy to gather people’s votes?

lol. People could spend the whole day debating about speculations, and I’m not interested to go further…

I remember that after the September 11 incident, when al-Qaeda had claimed to be responsible for the attacks, t-shirts with Osama’s face suddenly started selling in night markets. And the same thing happened after the attack by US on Saddam’s regime in Iraq. These are not hate t-shirts – the t-shirts were depicting them as heroes.

I felt confused. People were actually supporting them? Well, the news always claimed that they’re the bad guys. And, for me, making people becoming suicide bombers and ordering them to bomb random civillians is wrong. I can’t imagine in what kind of world would that be considered a noble deed?

But… for Saddam, he was more of a gray area for me coz everything I knew about him came from western media and it was mostly stuff he did in Iraq anyway. But I knew that there were lots of people who wanted him to win against the US.

And, most recently, there’s Gaddafi. I’m not sure if there’s any t-shirt of him selling around on street markets in Malaysia yet, but I at least know of one person who tried to convince other people that Gadaffi is not the bad one in the Libyan conflict through her blog.

After I read about her post, I was outraged. I have a Libyan friend who’s been really worried of her family’s safety in Libya, who also told me about the bad stuff that Gaddafi had done to stay in power. And suddenly, there was this Malaysian lady, who hadn’t even been to Libya or met any Libyans or know about how they feel about Gaddafi, who tried to convince people that Gaddafi was not bad. She claimed that Gaddafi’s attack on the Libyans was all just a ploy by the western media to help US intervene with Libya, and that he has a *right* to attack them coz they were trying to fight against a fair government. Whoa. WT*?

Well, first I’ll put this straight. I never liked US millitary interventions in any countries. But that lady I mentioned really annoyed me with her claims and the way she tried to convince other people about her opinon was a bit outrageous. Who is she, a middle-east political expert? Her so-called ‘proof’ was a piece of news report by a Russian media saying that the Russian satellite hasn’t detected any missile launch. =_=;;

It seems that.. for some Malaysians, it all came down to this: US is the bad guy, so whoever fights against them, they’re good. If I hadn’t come to study in the UK, I might’ve ended up thinking like that too. And, really, after all those history lessons of how the western people exploited our land, who wouldn’t think that? They used to come for spices and gold but now it’s oil.

But. Cardiff has lots of immigrants from middle-eastern countries, and I learnt about the misdeeds of these US-hunted leaders from them, mostly. I have an Afghan friend who had fled from Afghanistan because of the ridiculous laws imposed by rulers who claimed to do it in the name of Islam. And my boss, who’s from Iraq, also told me of what Saddam used to do to the Shi’as in Iraq, which ended up creating a huge division between the Sunni and Shi’a.

I used to be a bit sceptical about what I read in the news coz I know that the media can be bias. Especially western media. Haha. But then these stories also came from people who had been there; who had been in Afghanistan and Iraq, and left their country coz of these not-so-good leaders.Well, of course, they can still be bias too. Different people have different opinion. But at least I can say it’s a first-hand story.

So, who’s the good guy, who’s the bad guy? Is US really the one upholding the justice? I really don’t want to say that US is the good guy (I hate how they keep delving into other country’s business, like they’re the prefects or something =p), but I want people to be aware that Osama, Saddam and Gaddafi aren’t necessarily the good guys, just because they fight against the US.

What sadden me the most is how the middle east is falling into internal conflict, one after another. :(  It’s almost freaky, if you ask me. Makes me think of Fullmetal Alchemist and the Homunculus. It all started with one incident in Tunisia, didn’t it? It sounds so fishy, with lots of potential for juicy speculations of  some secret conspiracy. lol. =p

Whatever it is, the fact is that, after the US intervention, there’s always something that the intervened country needs to give back to US for their ‘help’. I used to think that South Koreans are all fond of the US. But I have a friend from South Korea who didn’t even like the idea of me going to the US on holiday. lol. She said that while it’s true that the US and South Korean are on ‘good terms’, many Koreans actually dislike the US coz they ask so much in return for the protection they agreed to give to South Korea. So really… I find it difficult to like the US and their foreign policy. But of course that doesn’t entail that all Americans are bad.

There’s really no easy way to point which side is good or bad. Well, I wouldn’t know for sure. But it’s so, so sad that Islam is always being linked to ‘bad’. The bad ones are called the ‘Islamists’ or ‘extreme muslims’. It’s as if they want to suggest that the compromising muslims are not bad but the real Islam is the bad one…

And it’s also stupid how some people seem to put labels and extend their hatred randomly. =_=; Check out this video:

I love how it turned out that it was a muslim who helped the Jew, but I also want to highlight the stupidity of those thugs who attacked the Jewish guy in the first place. “You killed Jesus. You killed him on Hannukah. You dirty Jew.” Seriously? How could any sane people start attacking anyone else just based on that claim? It wasn’t him who did it. And he might not even be the descendants of the people who did it….. And more importantly, Jesus was not killed, and he’s not dead yet (though of course, probably only muslims believe this).

Labelling people is not good… It also lead to anti-semitism, and Islamophobe. And me, being a muslim in a western countries, I believe that I’ve been a victim of Islamophobe a few times too. In a group, just because one individual is bad, doesn’t mean that the others are too.

Here’s a nice quote that I found today:

An Islamophobe said “I hate Muslims, and fear Islam for my safety” I said “I fear for the safety of Muslims, from those who hate Islam”

Take care, people.🙂

Snowdon! :D

Salaam!

Alhamdulillah, yesterday I accomplished another awesome feat! ;p I went up Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales and England. It was a part of a challenge organised by Islamic Relief, to raise money for orphans. It’s also the third fund-raising challenge that I joined, after the cycling to Koch Castle and Caerphilly castle.

It’s the second mountain that I hiked up (the 1st being Sinai). It wasn’t as high as Sinai, but it was just as difficult due to the weather condition. At first, there was the soaking rain. Then there was the wind that almost threw me off-balance. As we got to the top and walked into the clouds, visibility was reduced to merely a few meters. And at the top, we were congratulated by hail shower. Lovely, isn’t it? lol.

Our journey from the car pack started around 10am, and then we started walking along a very quiet street leading to Llanberis Path. The houses looked so nice and the area was so pretty, but we barely saw anyone. It’s literally a *quiet* town, I suppose. Or maybe it’s just the drizzle that kept them in.

I’m sure the view would’ve been nicer if it was sunny, but even with the clouds blocking my view, it was already spectacular. At first we just came across acres of farms, with fluffy sheep and cute ponies.

And there’s also the rail track without the rail. lol. It’s the Snowdon Mountain Railway. I would really like to try going up on it, at least once.. (can u spot the teeny tiny railway?) ;p

And then there’s the lake, which came with the first sighting of snow. The snow is at the left side of the picture. That tiny white spot. Hehe.

And this one, is the oh-so-magnificent view from the summit! ;p (The guy looking up was one of the guides that took us up. They’re really nice people.)

Seriously the clouds were in the way, but the sense of accomplishment blew off the tired-ness.🙂

Some people in the group didn’t make it to the top, due to various reasons, including the weather. So yeah, the fact that I managed to make it to the top is something isn’t it? But then, there were little kids at the top too, so maybe it’s not that great anyway. =p

The way down from the summit wasn’t so difficult, though it put so much strain on my knees and toes. I could even run. I got back down to the carpark area around 4.30pm, I guess, so the whole journey was about 6 hours.

 

So yep, that was my first trek up Snowdon. Next time I’d like to try again when the weather is sunny, insyaAllah.

Lots of people got into trouble coz they weren’t well-prepared in terms of clothing. WATERPROOF clothing is your best friend up there. So that, would be my no 1 advice for you if you ever want to go up Snowdon. Good shoes are important too. And chocolates to keep your energy level up.🙂

Bye bye, now!

Peace!

 

Peace be to you!

Ohhhooo. I’m in the middle of my exam period, but I came across some very interesting topics as I looked at the current debatable issues in preparation for one of the exams. Abortion. Eugenics. Designer babies. How do you feel about them?

There are lots of ethical controversies surrounding them. But ethics, well, it’s made by humans, and since humans have so many different opinions… how do we know who’s right, and who’s wrong?

Do we accept it as a ‘right’ thing because a respectable person says so?

Theodore Roosevelt. If you’ve watched Night at the Museum, you would’ve known of him even if you’re not an American. We know that he’s considered as one of the greatest US president. But you might be surprised with his view on eugenics.

“I wish very much that the wrong people could be prevented entirely from breeding; and when the evil nature of these people is sufficiently flagrant, this should be done.

Criminals should be sterilised and feeble-minded persons forbidden to leave offspring behind them… the emphasis should be laid on getting desirable people to breed.”

Letter from Theodore Roosevelt, 1913

I know from my lecture that this has been done in the past. People who are thought to have ‘bad genes’ are sterilised to prevent them from ‘breeding’ and increasing the population of people with unwanted traits.

That’s so wrong. Who are they to determine if a person’s genome is desirable or not?

Here in UK, people with sickle cell anemia gene may not be desirable. But in Africa, people with sickle cell anemia are more protected from malaria. They can survive longer. Different genes may be useful in different places. We’ll never know enough, so we really don’t have the right to alter the gene pool as we see fit.

And in some countries, the birth rate of male babies are higher than females. Boys are preferred in some countries because of their higher potential of bringing economical benefits to the family, causing an increase in abortion of female babies, a phenomenon called female foeticide.

Abortion is a messy business. If you decide to do it early, it isn’t as bad as when you do it late. Just take some pills, the fetus will be expelled, and there’s no way it’ll survive.

After 12 weeks, some fetuses can be so well developed, they can be moving around in the womb as if they’re ‘walking’. In late pregnancy, if you want abortion, doctors have to inject some drug into the womb, right into the fetus’s heart to make sure the fetus die before expelling it outside. Why? Because if the abortion is done while the fetus is alive, and then killed by the doctor, it would be a HUGE uproar.

And, recently in Italy, such a thing happened. A baby was expelled from the womb, but survived the abortion procedure. The doctor just left the baby, without trying to keep it alive. After all, the mom didn’t want the baby. A priest found the baby and prayed by its side. Sadly, the baby died a few hours later. I wonder if the mother knows that the baby was actually alive after the procedure?

Stopping the baby’s heart inside the womb. Leaving the baby to die if it survives the abortion procedure. Aren’t they the same thing? In the end, you’re killing someone.

Right now in the UK, the upper limit of abortion is 24 weeks. If it’s beyond this, it’s considered illegal to do abortion. Basically the limit is set based on the findings that most babies won’t survive if they’re born before 24 weeks.

But *most*, not all. Based on the same findings, pre-term babies who’re born in hospitals before they reach 24 weeks were considered unlikely to survive, and the hospital staff would make no effort to try supporting the baby’s life.

I read a story about baby Will, who was born after only 22 weeks. The hospital staff thought that there’s no way he’d survive and just gave him to his mother, letting her hold her baby at least for a while. They thought he’s gonna live in his mother’s arm for like 10 minutes, or at most an hour.

But he lived, even after more than 5 hours. So the hospital staff decided that Will had potential to survive, and took him to the incubator. And Will lived on and grew into a normal boy.

This incident happened in the past though, and I don’t think this kind of thing is still happening. I hope not, at least. It shows just how little we know. We’ll never know what will exactly happen. Our limited knowledge can only bring us to a certain length.

Haha, so yeah, obviously you can see that I’m against abortion. I don’t support eugenics either. As much as I love Gundam SEED, and as attractive as the idea seems, I don’t think I’ll ever create a ‘designer baby‘.

Gundam SEED: The story revolves around the battles between Naturals (ie: normal humans) and Coordinators (ie: humans who are genetically modified before birth to possess enhanced traits). Athrun is a Coordinator, but Kira is a Natural (although actually he's been genetically modified too). Interesting story with great imagination😀

True, there are cases where designer babies can help another sibling survive by being a donor of certain tissues, like bone marrow. Well, in this case, they’re referred as ‘saviour sibling’. But, even if I intended it for a good cause… it might end up like the girls in My Sister’s Keeper. How would the kid’s life be like, being born so that he/she could become a ‘spare part’ for another sibling? Proud? Happy? Rebellious? Fed-up?

Right now, I’m sure there are more people who think badly of eugenics compared to those who support it. It’s considered unethical. But ethics change. When it’s legalised, when more people do it, it will become so common, no one will think of it as a bad thing.

Abortion was legalised in 1967. And there were 22 000 abortions in that year. Then, in 1971, the number increased to 126 000. More people find it acceptable, more people do it. Initially people would’ve only considered abortion for very serious reason, like a case where the mother can die if the abortion is not done. I think it’s justified in this case.

But now, abortion is also done if the mother doesn’t want the baby, which can be due to various reasons. ‘Psychological’ harm to the mother. Fetal defect. Financial restraint. Population control.

After all it’s the mother’s right to do what she wants with her body, huh? Haha.

I’ve read that some disabled people say that they would’ve preferred to be born rather than being killed in the womb without having a say on it.

So, now you need to consider the baby’s right to live. Baby’s right to live vs mother’s right to control her body. I’d vote for the baby’s right to live.

But then. Another argument came up. At what stage does the fused sperm cell and ovum cell is considered a ‘human’? As soon as they fuse and become zygote? Or, after implant on the mother’s womb?

I’m still thinking about the answer to this one, to be honest.

I remember that there’re some verses in the Qur’an that mention about ‘ruh’ being given to the baby after bones and flesh have formed. (What is ‘ruh’? lol I dunno how to explain this. Something like… spirit? The thing that makes you alive.) But I dunno if it indicates that it’s the stage where the fetus becomes a ‘human’.

Many people, especially religious ones, seem to go with the idea that as soon as the zygote is formed, that’s when it’s considered that a new life has been created. Coz it will have the potential to become a living entity. Some scientists argue that life only begins after implantation onto uterus, coz before implantation, the blastocyst is capable of splitting up and becoming twins, creating separate entities. Others argue that the nervous system develops only after day 14, so before this time it’s not like the cells ‘feel’ anything anyway.

Lots of opinions. With sensible arguments. Which one will you support? Go with your brain’s reasoning capabilities, or will you follow what your holy scripture says?

LOL. In the end there’re more questions than answers. There are some things we can’t just get the answer by merely thinking.

Ethics are just guidelines. We made it up based on the current perception of what’s good and what’s not. And this perception changes, not only with time, but also with different cultures, places, religions. Even people of the same religion may view ethics differently.

Most muslim countries feel that education should be for all – males and females. But there are muslim governments that think that they have to restrict education only for males. Weird.

Screw what they think. Muslims were thought to read, and learn, from the very first verse of Qur’an that was revealed to prophet Muhammad pbuh.

Hmm. Again, my blog entry veer into some unplanned territories. LOL. I guess initially I wanted to say that, ethics is not enough to guide us. It changes, for the better or worse. Qur’an and hadith give us the answer. As long as we follow them, we’ll stay on the right path, insyaAllah.

Hehe. I love these abortion-eugenics topics so much. They open my eyes on so many things. Sadly, they didn’t come up in today’s exam. lol. We’ve got animal testing instead. Hmmm.

Right. I’ll stop now. Bubye!

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