Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Bantahan Terhadap Israel!!!

Wajib bagi setiap muslim menyatakan bantahan terhadap yahudi terkutuk atas apa yang sedang berlaku di Ghaza. Darah rakyat Palestin ditumpah tanpa dosa, sedangkan mereka saudara seagama dengan kita. Zahirkan bantahan tersebut melalui berbagai cara terhadap Israel, juga pelindungnya Amerika.

Demikian juga Mesir dan Jordan yang tidak membuka sempadan bagi menyelamatkan rakyat Palestin. Bantahan boleh dibuat dalam berbagai bentuk dengan syarat caranya tidak bercanggah dengan Islam. Saya sendiri pada hari mesej ini ditulis sudah dua hari berturut-turut menyertai demonstrasi di hadapan Kedutaan Israel di London.

DR MAZA, 11.35, 29/12/08, London
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Maka tunggu apa lagi, jom ramai-ramai kita pi buat bantahan kat depan Kedutaan US dan boikot semua barangan Yahudi laknatullah!!!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Teman......


I do not know how to respond to that question. I try to find the best answer for it. Yet I fail. Maybe I have put too much expectation on my friends. Maybe……





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Teman sejati yang ku cari
Hanyalah yang ada di sisi

Dan jika ini adalah takdir dari Nya…..

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Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Story That Touches My Heart.......

Love does not differentiate between the ordinary and exceptional, the uninteresting and interesting, the unattractive and attractive, because love knows no distinction. It can happen to anyone and once it does it engulfs us into it completely and gives us those miraculous experiences that only love can yield. This is what happened to Surinder Sahni, a simple, honest man working for Punjab Power. He leads a humdrum life until he meets his total opposite and finds love in the flamboyant, fun-loving, vivacious Taani. What follows is a journey filled with laughter, tears, joy, pain, music, dance and a lot of love. A journey that makes us believe that there is an extraordinary love story in every ordinary jodi.



Hindustan movie is one of my favourite movies. I watched Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Kabhi Kushi Kabhi Gham, Kabhi Alvida Neya Kehna and many more. But none of these movies was able to make me cry while watching it in the cinema. Kabhi Kushi Kabhi Gham dulu just rasa sedih, but taklah sampai tahap nak menangis. But this one berjaya buat aku menangis. Tapi since aku tengok dengan my pet sister kan, so aku control-control lah sikit. Entahlah maybe aku nangis pasal cerita nie macam dekat sangat ngan aku. I feel like Surinder Sahni was me, berusaha bersungguh-sungguh untuk mendapatkan cinta dari orang yang dicintai…..




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I see god in you
And I do not know what to do

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Friday, December 26, 2008

Kau Yang Berada Di Hati Ku......


Miss my beloved nephews and nieces so much!! [naQib, baba, tim-tim, najihot (in the picture), hafiz, 'aina, fiqot and lovely harith (in the picture)]. Can’t wait to see them this weekend. Hmmm... Bila lah nak dapat resepi red coconut roundies nie. Tak sabaq nak buat untuk diaorang (“,)



====================

Terlalu sakit rindu ini
Menghambat minda.. Kini jiwa
Andainya pada angin dapat ku lepaskan peritnya hati
Tolong sampaikan rindu ku ini pada mereka

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Thursday, December 25, 2008

Rethinking Teaching and Learning Outcomes for the Knowledge-Based Society

Public Talk
Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Kulliyyah (Faculty) of Islamic Revealed Knowledge and Human Sciences
International Islamic University Malaysia


Topic:
Rethinking Teaching and Learning Outcomes for the Knowledge-Based Society

Speaker:
Yang Berbahagia Tan Sri Professor Emeritus Dato’ Dr. Abu Hassan Othman
Vice Chancellor, Berjaya University College of Hospitality
Adjunct Professor, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, IIUM
Former Vice Chancellor, University of Malaysia Sabah
Former Professor of Anthropology, National University of Malaysia (UKM)

Venue:
Senate Hall, Administration Building, IIUM

Date:
30th December 2008

Time:
2.15 pm – 4.40 pm


All are cordially invited to the talk. Refreshment will be provided after the program.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

2008..... 2009.....

Today is December 24, 2008. Just seven more days to go for 2009 to come. It really shows how time flies really-really fast. And still I am not sure what I have done in 2008. Hmmmm……

But I think I am pretty sure that there are a lot of things happened to me this year. Seriously I say, A LOT!! Sampai satu tahap penin kepala aku….



Study & Academic Matters

Study oklah. Not that bad. Finished my courseworks last April. My current cgpa pun oklah. Slightly better than my undergraduate. Harap-harap my thesis nanti dapat naikkan sikit my cgpa so that I can achieve my target (“,). Alhamdulillah. I feel thankful to Allah for that. And I feel grateful to Him too cause I am done with my data collection process at Kampung Baru and Kuala Lumpur City Hall. Honestly it was so tiring during that time. I have to run here and there to meet the relevant officers from both institutions in order for me to gather sufficient information for my dissertation. Otherwise susah lah.

Tapi faham-faham lah with our government’s agencies nie – so damn busy!! Sometimes I got fed up with these people. Every time asyik meeting ajer. Perubahannya tak nampak apa pun sangat. So what I did to low down my anger was just reminding myself that these are the things that I have to face since I am doing qualitative fieldwork study. Otherwise if I want to make things easy, I just can do quantitative study. Prepare the survey questionnaire, distribute it to the expected respondents, analyse the data from the questionnaire, applying statistical tests for the purpose of testing the hypothesis, writing up the dissertation and finally the end. Senang kan? But it will not serve my purpose because anthropological study is most of the time a qualitative one. If we want to look back at its history, Malinowski, Radcliffe-Brown, Evans-Pritchard, Leach, Mitchell, Bruner, Geertz, Sodoski, and many other prominent anthropologists, either cultural or social anthropologists, were qualitative researchers, or in our own terms ethnographers. They spent years in the field, staying and living together with the informants, speak in their native languages, eat their traditional foods, just only to serve one purpose that is to collect an accurate, or almost accurate, data. So if I want to become like them, I have to face benda-benda yang macam nie. And frankly speaking it is worth doing it, especially when I conducted my participant observation in Kampung Baru. Goshh… Masa tue barulah aku betul-betul faham kenapa diaorang giler babi defend tanah Kampung Baru tue. It is their life, their blood, their pride, their dignity. You can take whatever they have, their money, their clothes, their food, even their offspring, but not their land. Like many of them said “langkah mayat aku dulu!!!” So currently busy finalizing my dissertation and I hope I can settle everything by next year, I mean next month ler ;p

I am also a bit busy at the moment writing my paper in which I am going to present it next year, insya Allah. Where? Hehehehehehe… Ader ler. Somewhere on earth. But for sure it is an international conference. And I feel extremely obliged to my supervisor, dengan izin, Professor Dr. Mohamed Aris Haji Othman, for his endless advice and support. Or else I am not able to finish my data collection process, still terhegeh-hegeh cari topic for my dissertation and many more lah. Frankly, he is more than a supervisor to me – he is like my own father!!! I do thank Allah for knowing him in my life.



Friends

Last August, one of my bestest friends, brothers, budaksetan, Ken, got married with his lovely couple, Evelyn – congratz!! Now Eve dah pregnant dah pun – double congratz!! So who’s next in the line?? Hehehehehehe… Vincent?? Or Simon?? Or Alyssa?? Well someone is tremendously excited now to convert to Islam kan. I think he will be the next one kot. Hehehehehehe… Certainly it is not me lah kan. Don’t get me wrong. It is not that I don’t want to get married; it is merely because I still have unsettled things to do. Insya Allah, the time will come. Yarlah kan. Ader orang tue asyik duk kenakan aku ajer ;p

Tapi kawan tak semestinya dalam keadaan baik ajer kan. Ada pasang surutnya. How I wish I can freeze the time and let the friendship remains as it is. Regrettably I cannot. There are friends who used to say “hey I am here for you and I really mean it.” But in the end….. Don’t even bother to ask “how you doing” after the things happened. As if it does not affect me at all. It does affect me, emotionally. Well that is life for you…..

I still have a tough moment to convince my pet sister to resume our Singapore’s plan. Sincerely I do want to accompany her. Ya lar. She never been to Singapore. So just bring her jalan-jalan maa. Maybe it is a matter of time. And then next time we can plan for another trip. Hmmm… How about Hong Kong? ;p [Nanti mesti ader orang komen aku – gigih!!!].



Well that’s what I had in 2008. I hope things will be much better in 2009, insya Allah. Owhh yar… One thing for sure, I have to make sure that I join Malaysian Aids Council as their volunteer in 2009. That’s my dream… To mingle with the “pencucuk jarum professional” (“,).

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Hudud Law

KOTA BARU: Two firebrand politicians – state exco member Datuk Husam Musa and Rembau MP Khairy Jamaluddin – took potshots at each other on various issues during a no-holds barred forum here last night. Husam and Khairy held a healthy debate over issues ranging from Umno’s arrogance of power to PAS’ plans to implement hudud law.

The forum entitled Malaysian Political Reformation was held at Balai Islam in Lundang here and was moderated by Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia’s Associate Prof Dr. Mohd Agus Yusof who reminded the politicians and the floor to not touch on personal issues. Husam fired the first salvo when he said that Umno’s unpopularity in the March general election was a result of Umno’s arrogance of having power. Khairy, in reply, said this arrogance had apparently infected PKR leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim who had said in bravado that he would march into Putrajaya on Sept 16 to take up the post as the next Prime Minister.

But it is in my opinion, that the political reformation was not as much a reformation but actually a protest vote by the people to teach Barisan Nasional a lesson for not implementing the promises made in the 2004 general election” Khairy said.

Husam’s subtle insinuations caught Khairy on the hop on several occasions but Khairy maintained his calm and took the “beatings” professionally to the delight of Umno members in the crowd. Khairy launched another attack on Husam when he asked whether hudud law would be implemented if Pakatan Rakyat had taken over the Government on Sept 16. Husam gave an assurance that hudud law would be implemented if they had taken over. Associate Prof Dr. Mohd Agus added fuel to the already hot topic and asked Khairy if he would push for hudud law if he became the Umno Youth chief. Khairy smilingly replied that he would, which resulted in shouts among PAS supporters in the hall. At a press conference later, both men supported more such forums to be held.


**********
NST December 21, 2008

Note: The questions that need to be pondered by us will UMNO or Barisan Nasional really implement Hudud? Will the MCA and the MIC easily accept to the idea of implementing Hudud in Malaysia? But the most important question; is it significant to implement Hudud?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Happy Birthday Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad!!


No other name has been so closely knit into Malaysia's recent history than Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. Fondly called Dr M, he was Malaysia's longest serving Prime Minister, occupying that seat from 1981 to 2003. A man of all embracing vision, one can say without a doubt Malaysia's former premier always spoke his mind.

On December 20th, our 'Bapa Pemodenan' turns 83. In celebrating his birthday, we take a look back at the premiership of the much loved and often controversial Dr M.



Malaysia's former Prime Minister Tun Hussein Onn, left, greets Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad after he nominated Mahathir as his successor, shown in this 1981 photo in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. That was the beginning. He then ruled the country for a long 22 years, building Malaysia into a leading economy of South East Asia.


U.S. President George Bush, right, meets Dr Mahathir Mohamad, left, at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Shanghai, China, Oct. 20, 2001. Even though Mahathir openly criticised the US and the West, he was a leader who welcomed economic co-operation with open hands, making the US Malaysia's biggest customer during Mahathir's rule.


Dr Mahathir Mohamad, seen here sitting next to Pope John Paul II, presenting the Pontiff a gift he offered him during their private audience at the Vatican, Friday, June 7, 2002.



George Soros, a self-made Hungarian-born billionaire, right, speaks with Dr Mahathir Mohamad during a joint news conference at a hotel in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Friday, Dec. 15, 2006. Mahathir, who once called Soros a “moron”, met with him for the first time since the economic crisis made them bitter foes, and also explained to the Jewish billionaire that he (Mahathir) was not anti-Semitic despite his persistent criticism of Israel.



Anwar Ibrahim, left, smiles next to Dr Mahathir Mohamad during their party meeting in Kuala Lumpur in this June 20, 1998 file photo. The former prime minister declared that he wouldn't “lose any sleep” over the six years his former deputy, Anwar Ibrahim, spent behind bars, and maintained he never conspired with the courts to put him there.



Dr Mahathir Mohamad tries to hold back his tears after his last speech at the general assembly of the ruling United Malays National Organization (UMNO) as Malaysia's prime minister, before his retirement. Kuala Lumpur, Thursday June 19, 2003.



After handing power over to his successor, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad prays before leaving the prime minister's office in Putrajaya, Malaysia, Friday, Oct. 31, 2003.



Dr Mahathir Mohamad waves to his supporters while returning to Malaysia at Subang Airport, in July, 22, 2006. He is still popular amongst many Malaysians, long after ending his term as the nation's prime minister.



The image of Dr Mahathir will remain iconic to Malaysians. In this file photo, a young supporter is seen standing beside the portrait of Mahathir Mohamad outside an airport in Subang, Malaysia, May 27, 2008.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Pandangan Si Otak Karat....


Do you ever think that one day, in the future, we would have a non-Malay Prime Minister? Did the Americans ever think that one day; they will have an African-American President? But, perhaps, the African-Americans did dream last time that one day one of them will become the President of United States of America. And it happens now. The President-elect, Barack Hossein Obama, who will swear-in as the next American President next January, is an African-American – a cause of joy to be celebrated by the African-Americans, and their fellow Americans. And I believe, here in Malaysia, the non-Malays – the Chinese and the Indians – also have the same dream: that one day in the future, one of them will be elected as the Prime Minister of Malaysia [well it was obviously shown in several comments by some of the Chinese leaders, either from the opposition party, Democratic Action Party (DAP), or from the ruling National Alliance party (BN), Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA)]. Possibly, the main question that needs to be raised is: Will it happen? [I am not trying to become pessimistic, just raising a question].

Lee Hsien Long [son of Lee Kuan Yew, the main architect of modern Singapore], current Singapore’s Prime Minister, in his response to the similar question asked by journalist clearly said that it is impossible for the Singaporean Malays to become Prime Minister of the island state [bear in mind that the Malays in Singapore are considered as the minority group]. The same kind of comment came after that from the Mentor Minister, Mr. Lee Kuan Yew, when he delivered a talk at the Singapore’s Institute of South-East Asian Studies (ISEAS). Mr. Lee said that it would require a long period of time for the Singaporean Malays to be elected as the Prime Minister.

There are mixed responses from various segments of the society in Malaysia. The non-Malays, the Chinese in particular, were a bit ‘excited’ in expressing their views on the subject matter. The current MCA President, Datuk Ong Tee Kiat [he is also Transport Minister in the current Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s cabinet], for example, has said that the Malaysians should move forward and put a side ethnicity as the barrier for the non-Malays to be elected as the future Prime Minister of Malaysia. While Datuk Seri Utama Dr. Rais Yatim, the UMNO Supreme Council Member [he is the Foreign Minister in the present cabinet] has assertively said that it is impossible for the non-Malays to become Prime Minister of Malaysia due to several factors such as differences in terms of history between Malaysia and the United States of America (USA), cultural assimilation among major ethnic groups in the country etc [for this point, I call Datuk Seri Utama Dr. Rais Yatim as ‘Malaysia’s Lee Kuan Yew’]. There are other comments from other politicians, such as Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, academicians, political analysts etc but I do not want to dwell too much on the comments from different personalities. I think it is enough to mention these two comments.

Recently, Datuk Mukhriz Tun Dr. Mahathir [son of the former Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad], a hopeful UMNO Youth Chief, has suggested that the government should abolish ethnic-based schools and introduce a national school for the purpose of national integration. The Chinese and the Indians have responded, sternly, to this suggestion. Majority of them disagree with Mukhriz, and assert that the government should maintain the current educational system which gives privileges to the ethnic-based schools, that are the Sekolah Rendah Jenis Kebangsaan (Cina) and Sekolah Rendah Jenis Kebangsaan (Tamil). The government in their immediate response has avowed that the current educational system will be maintained, and there is no reason for them to modify the current system and introduce a single national school, as it is in line with the recommendations from Penyata Razak. However, some academicians ‘sing the same rhythms’ with Mukhriz. They contend that this suggestion is not new, but it was mentioned before in the Penyata Barnes. The report clearly advocates single national school for the purpose of integrating different ethnic groups in Malaysia, and thus ethnic-based schools should be brought to an end.

To my mind, I think the non-Malays, especially the Chinese, will fight till the end of the day for their Chinese school. They will never agree with such proposal and will keep reiterating that it is important to maintain Chinese school as to preserve their culture and identity. [However, Professor Emeritus Tan Sri Datuk Dr. Khoo Kay Khim has advised the non-Malays to be considerate with the Malays in this issue since they are the minority groups]. It is like the Malays and their Sultans. If the non-Malays do something that will threaten or question the position of the Sultans, the Malays will undeniably turn into ‘madness’. This is due to fact that the Sultans symbolize the Malays social and cultural identity since the Malacca Sultanate until today [thus in my humble opinion, the Sultans should be thankful to the non-Malays for their existence until today (an opinion credited to my supervisor)].

However, in this issue, I think the non-Malays should be thankful to Datuk Mukhriz Tun Dr. Mahathir. Why? Because his suggestion, the establishment of a single national school, will pave the way for the non-Malays to become future Malaysian Prime Minister. I have no intention to say that Datuk Mukhriz is ‘penyangak bangsa Melayu’. No, that is not my main intention. His suggestion is unquestionably good to all Malaysians, or to bangsa Malaysia. But the point I wanted to highlight is by having a single national school, certainly there would be a possibility for the non-Malays to become Prime Minister in the future, despite the fact that it would take many years to achieve this single dream [for the non-Malays]. Why I am saying this? The fact that the Americans, the Whites and the Blacks, have voted Barack Hossein Obama as the next American President is because Obama has assimilated himself into American culture and has articulated American identity despite the fact that, culturally speaking, he is African-American. He speaks American-English, dresses like an American ‘handsome’ gentleman, eats typical American food, thinks and behaves like American guy, plays American sports etc. His national identity transcends his ethnic identity, thus, this is the very reason of why the Americans, the Whites and the Blacks, have chosen him to become ‘their’ president.

It is, indeed, a long way to go for the Malaysians to mark another history by electing a non-Malay Prime Minister. But I believe it is a dream that can be achieved. It is just a matter of time to decide. But if it is impossible to be achieved, then the idea of a single national school should not be simply rejected. The most important thing, above all, is national integration rather than having a non-Malay Prime Minister!!

*The ideas expressed in this writing are based on my anthropological knowledge. I have little information on what would be the Islamic standpoints on the said issues.*

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Muntadar al-Zeidi dan George W. Bush


MUNTADAR Al-Zeidi, 29, kini tiba-tiba menjadi ikon. Kasut but saiz 10-nya juga menjadi terkenal. Kasut yang dibalingnya hampir mengenai kepala orang paling berkuasa di dunia - George W. Bush. Seluruh dunia Arab memuji keberaniannya yang teramat sangat. Penduduk Iraq, negara kelahirannya, keluar ke atas jalan raya menari-nari sambil mengangkat but yang sama seperti milik Muntadar itu.

Tindakan Muntadar, walaupun bukan satu amalan biasa bagi wartawan di Malaysia atau di mana-mana negara sekalipun, dianggap sebagai luar biasa. Ia adalah nilai berita terhebat setakat ini. Ia juga akan menjadi catatan year ender terhebat bagi tahun ini. Muntadar mengambil kesempatan di sidang akhbar yang diadakan sempena 'lawatan perpisahan' Bush sebagai Presiden Amerika ke kota Baghdad itu, untuk meluahkan perasaannya yang amat berat dipendamnya selama ini. Sambil melontar, Muntadar melaung ''ini kucupan perpisahan untuk kami anjing!'' Lelaki itu mengambil sebelah lagi kasutnya dan terus melontar sambil melaung ''ini salam perpisahan daripada balu, anak yatim dan mereka yang terbunuh di Iraq." Bush tangkas menunduk bagaikan pemain besbol mengelak bola lisut yang akan menghentam mukanya.

Laungan itu menterjemahkan betapa ribuan rakyat Iraq - wanita, kanak-kanak dan orang tua terkorban atau dilenyapkan dari muka bumi negara itu. Jeritan Muntadar itu juga pastinya akan menjadi ikonik. Ia datangnya dari dalam hati nuraninya. Muntadar hanyalah insan biasa, seorang rakyat Iraq yang hanya mahu meluahkan perasaannya. Dia bukanlah pengebom berani mati, yang mahu meletupkan dirinya sia-sia, tetapi mahu menunjukkan kepada dunia bahawa Bush perlu diaibkan. Bagi orang Arab, membaling kasut ke muka seseorang adalah perkara yang paling hina. Walaupun balingan itu tidak mengenai sasaran - namun aib telah dilemparkan. Bush tidak akan lupa kejadian yang menimpa dirinya itu, sampai mati.

Semasa menyatakan rancangannya akan ke Iraq, sebagai simboliknya sebelum meninggalkan White House, tertanya kita betapa egonya Presiden itu. Mengapakah perlu beliau pergi ke situ, setelah perbuatannya terhadap Iraq selama ini telah dikutuk satu dunia. Malah rakyatnya sendiri menolaknya mentah-mentah, sehinggakan calon partinya sendiri pun menjadi mangsa akibat badi Bush itu. Semuanya gara-gara serangan-penjajahan, arahan Bush ke atas Iraq. Apa pun, Muntadar kini menjadi hero bagi rakyat Arab. Ternyata bukan puak Sunni sahaja yang membenci Bush, malah Syiah seperti Muntadar pun sama. Lawatan Bush itu diadakan beberapa hari sebelum rakyat Iraq memperingati dua tahun Saddam Hussein digantung sampai mati oleh rejim Iraq, boneka Bush.

Para wartawan Arab yang lain menyifatkan tindakan rakan sejawatan mereka itu sebagi satu manifestasi ''kebencian yang amat sangat terhadap Bush." Sementara laporan dari Washington pula memihakkan berita (slant) dengan menyifatkan Muntadar ''hanya mahu mendapatkan perhatian dan ia satu kes terpencil." Majikan Muntadar, sebuah stesen televisyen, Al-Banghdadia berpangkalan di Mesir, mengeluarkan kenyataan mendesak pekerjanya itu dibebaskan daripada tahanan dengan alasan ''selari dengan demokrasi dan kebebasan bersuara yang mahu diterapkan oleh Amerika ke atas rakyat Iraq. ''Sebarang langkah ke atas Muntadar bolehlah dianggap sebagai satu tindakan oleh rejim diktator."

Ironinya, sebaik sahaja insiden itu berlaku media Barat dipercayai cuba menutup aib itu. Agensi berita menghantar gambar yang tertera nota kepada editor di bawah imej itu yang menegaskan bahawa gambar itu hanya untuk kegunaan editorial sahaja, dan bukan untuk tujuan lain termasuk ''pengiklanan, papan tanda…'' Namun, yang penting seorang insan wartawan bernama Muntadar Al-Zeidi - telah mencipta berita dunia.

Sumber: Utusan Malaysia 17 Disember 2008

Akbar S. Ahmed’s Toward Islamic Anthropology



Introduction
Dr. Akbar S. Ahmed is a well-trained British social anthropologist. Originally from Pakistan, he received his PhD from one of the universities in United Kingdom. He holds many government positions such as Director General, National Center for Rural Development and Director, Center of Social Sciences and Humanities, University Grants Commission, Islamabad, Pakistan. He is also active in writing articles and books in which many of his works were published in renounce journals. Some of his works are, among others, Muslim Society: Readings in Thought and Structure; Religion and Politics in Muslim Society: Order and Conflict in Pakistan; The Social Structure and Organization of Early Muslim Society and Islamic Tribes and European Administrators: Readings in the Colonial Encounter.

In responding to the call of Islamization of Knowledge, Akbar Ahmed has written a book entitled Toward Islamic Anthropology: Definition, Dogma and Directions. In this book, he has discussed extensively the subject of anthropology from Islamic standpoints. This can be considered as a good exploratory study of Islamic anthropology since Akbar has pointed out several main issues discussed in both, Western and Islamic anthropology. Although his discussion on Western anthropology is largely depending on British social anthropology, still it reflects and gives a basic idea of anthropology and this pave the way to Islamization of anthropology.

Rationale for Islamization
Akbar S. Ahmed has pointed out that the very reason for Islamization of anthropology is the attacks done by the orientalist anthropologists toward Muslim societies and Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

The orientalists have neither tired nor surrendered. In a book written by Crone and Cook in 1980 entitled Hagarism: The Making of the Islamic World, the authors have attacked the very core of Islam. They argued that the prophethood of Islam belonged to Caliph ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab and Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was sent to preach the coming of Hazrat ‘Umar but decided to appropriate the role for himself. Further, they also compare the Prophet’s age as one of violence and barbarism to theirs of gentleness and peace. In refuting such allegation, Akbar Ahmed asserts that although contemporary Western society are presumed to be a civilized nation, nonetheless it is the members of the so-called civilized nation who have made this century alone plunged the entire world into wars that lasted for years at a cost of millions of lives. On the other hand, when Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) reconquered Mecca, he forgave all those who wished to live in peace. A general amnesty was declared and a part from few criminals, no one was killed. The conquest of Mecca involved the death of less than thirty people in combat. Meanwhile, during the Prophet’s entire military career and campaign, only a bout a thousand men, Muslims and non-Muslims, died (Akbar S. Ahmed, 1986: 52). Akbar Ahmed also expresses his disappointment toward the unprofessional approach adopted by the Western orientalist anthropologists. He writes:

Professor Barth spent most of his professional life writing and lecturing about Muslim groups. I am not objecting to his ideas about those groups. He is perfectly entitled to his views. I do object to the arrogance implied by those views. And my objection raises sadness in me rather than indignation. Sadness because my discipline, anthropology, is belittled. It is reduced to parody and weak shadow of orientalism. Edward Said would be roused to say that this is vintage “Orientalism” (Akbar S. Ahmed, 1986: 54).

It is due to the Western orientalist anthropologists’ attacks that have prompted Akbar Ahmed to develop and construct a new kind of anthropology, which is purely based on Islamic paradigms and worldviews. He writes:

When the authors of Hagarism attack Prophet Muhammad and the very foundation of Islam or, less seriously, Western anthropologists equate entire Muslim societies to the mafia, ought Muslims to bury their heads in the sand and pretend they do not hear these voices? Should they simply reject the Western, or non-Muslim, scholarship by banning its entry into their countries? If so, do they build an intellectual iron curtain around their societies? Or ought they to assess, argue, synthesize and then prepare and reply in terms of an “Islamic Anthropology”? The aim of this paper is to illuminate the above questions (Akbar S. Ahmed, 1986: 55).

It would appear that nowadays that anthropology is a creation of the West. This is not so. If anthropology is a science based on extended participant observation of cultures using the data collected for value-neutral and unbiased analysis employing comparative method, then according to Akbar Ahmed, al-Biruni is indeed an anthropologist of the highest contemporary standards. Or perhaps he deserved the title of the “first anthropologist”. Therefore, almost a thousand year before Malinowski[1] and Geertz[2], al-Biruni was establishing the science of anthropology. For that reason, the scientific study of man and society, Islamic anthropology, is not new. Thus, Akbar Ahmed defines Islamic anthropology loosely as the study of Muslim groups by scholars committed to the universalistic principles of Islam – humanity, knowledge, tolerance – relating micro village tribal studies in particular to the larger historical and ideological frames of Islam. Islam is here understood not as theology but sociology (Akbar S. Ahmed, 1986: 56).

Methodology
Akbar Ahmed has outlined some methodologies in constructing Islamic anthropology. He firstly delineates that the worldview of the Muslim anthropologists should be based on al-Quran and the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad. As he describes that “in the ideal, the Muslim orders his life according to the will of God. In actuality this may not be so. Does he see society as motivated by the desire to perform the will of God or not? If so, the Muslim must strive to bring the actual into accord with the ideal” (Akbar S. Ahmed, 1986: 57). He further suggests that in order to deal with Muslim societies, Muslim anthropologists should utilize a methodological holists framework when analyzing a Muslim social actor. The holists view man as motivated by configurations of economy and society which transcend the individual. This is in line with the Islamic ideal that an individual Muslim belongs in part to his immediate group and in part to the larger ummah. Certain religious injunctions have become the subject of caricature and satire among the Western people. For instance, Muslims are commonly known for their prohibition of eating pork as it is not considered halal or pure. In responding to such issue, Akbar suggests that Muslims have to be eclectic. He contends that through eclecticism, Muslims should choose what Shariati calls as the “right path” (Ali Shariati, 1979: 94). Akbar also disagree with some Muslim and Western anthropologists that there are many Islam[3]. He writes:

There is only one Islam and there can be only one Islam but there are many Muslim societies. We must then not look for numerous “Islams” but we must attempt to place the multitude of Muslim societies within the framework of one universal Islam (Akbar S. Ahmed, 1986: 58).

In the end, Akbar Ahmed has given several recommendations in illuminating his Islamic anthropology. These recommendations are:
1) A simple, lucid sociological account of the life of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) be prepared by a Muslim. The book should address wide audience, both Muslims and non-Muslims, and neither is too academic nor too obscure.
2) One major standard anthropological text book of high standard should be produced and then translated into major languages of the Muslim world. It should be used at the BA level and include sections on each major cultural zone.
3) Anthropological monographs on each major Islamic region are produced for distribution in the Muslim world. Initially, Morocco for Maghrib, Pakistan for South Asia and Indonesia for Southeast Asia as distinct cultural-geographical types may be selected. These monographs should be simple, lucid with attractive photographs and used in colleges and universities.
4) Visits of Muslim anthropologists within Muslim countries should be arranged and encouraged and joint projects initiated.
5) Long-term studies should be conducted comparing the major social categories which would help us better understand and reach conclusions regarding Muslim society and its immediate contemporary problems.
6) Practical and development-oriented social studies should be framed in order to enable us to better plan for Muslim society in the twentieth century.
7) Ethnographic and anthropological content from the writings of the great Muslim writers is extracted and compiled in a discrete set of volumes. In this exercise classic Islamic scholars will have to assist the anthropologist (Akbar S. Ahmed, 1986: 67).

Assessment
After Akbar Ahmed presented his idea on Islamization of anthropology, some Muslim, as well as non-Muslim, anthropologists have responded to it. They have reviewed and given some evaluations on the work.

Akbar Ahmed starts his book with a chapter on contemporary Anthropology. He defines Anthropology as what the Western anthropologists define it; a systematic study of man. He further argues that Anthropology enables us to understand ourselves through understanding other cultures. However, generally speaking, within the discipline of Anthropology there are two main categories namely social anthropology and cultural anthropology. In this study, however, Akbar Ahmed has confined himself only into social anthropology and neglecting cultural anthropology for the most of time. This is clearly proven when he discusses major theoretical frames in Western Anthropology. According to the author, the main focus of inquiry in Western anthropology, among others, are social structure, kinship and political organization, beliefs, magic and religion, economic and processes of social change. These themes are synonymously associated with social anthropology. By focusing only on social anthropology, the discussion on Western anthropology has lost one dimension since cultural anthropology, undeniably, has a significant place in the contemporary anthropology.

Akbar Ahmed is critical in analyzing major theories in the Western anthropology. Most of Western anthropologists especially social anthropologists i.e. Radcliffe-Brown, assert that a society is something very like an organism. However, it has become clear that this “holistic” approach to understand society cannot be translated into actual research. The author contends that society is not something given in experience; rather it is an intellectual construct or model, built up on the basis of experience. Besides, society is a way of ordering experience, a working and for certain purposes, indispensable hypothesis.

The author also gives considerable consideration when discussing on the orientalist anthropologist. It is due to the orientalist anthropologist’s attacks on the Muslim’s societies and Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) that have compelled the author to develop Islamic Anthropology. Thus, he defines Islamic anthropology loosely as the study of Muslim groups by scholars committed to the universalistic principles of Islam – humanity, knowledge and tolerance – relating micro village tribal studies in particular to the larger historical and ideological frames of Islam. Islam is here understood not as theology but sociology. Nevertheless, this can be considered as a microscopic definition of Islamic anthropology. Or perhaps this is the best definition for the “Anthropology of Muslim Societies”.

The content part is no different from anthropology of Islam which is applying anthropological methods to the study of Muslim communities. But the unique and loose twist here is that the anthropologist submits to a set of principles that are assumed to be universal but left undefined. The main signifier is a commitment to ‘universalistic principles of Islam’, which the author clearly sees as compatible with humanity, knowledge and tolerance. But from where does Ahmad derive these principles if not from theology, from an interpretation of Quran and Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)? Surely there can be principles of humanity, knowledge and tolerance outside Islamic perspective.

Akbar Ahmed tries to present a model on the development of Muslim societies. However, it is very sad that he begins the model with tribal segmentary Islam, which he claims to be associated with early Islam. It is undeniable that the Arab society before the coming of Islam was characterized with tribalism and tribal communities. However, with the advent of Islam, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was sent to establish a society, which was not based on tribal relationship, rather religion became the basis of the society. It was known as ummah and it transcended tribal loyalties.

Akbar Ahmed’s call for an Islamic anthropology is problematic since from the beginning. He contends that “this study is speculative and concerns a difficult and complex subject. Its task is made more difficult as it defends a metaphysical position, advances an ideological argument and serves a moral cause” (Akbar S. Ahmed, 1986: 13). In spite of this, Daniel Martin Varisco has rejected this idea. He argues:

Anthropology as a scientific discipline, despite all its faults, is in no sense a defense of any particular metaphysical position especially a religion claiming to be the sole legitimate revelation for humanity. If the Muslim anthropologist finds a discrepancy between his belief and the results of anthropological analysis, he must in Ahmed’s scheme side with his belief. To do otherwise is to admit that his faith is subservient to the mundane human quest for knowledge. To think that he can under all circumstances remain a devout Muslim and at the same time pursue an objective and empirical investigation of Muslim society as an anthropologist is naïve, at best (Daniel Martin Varisco, 2005: 132).

Akbar Ahmed tries to adopt al-Faruqi’s approach in Islamizing Anthropology: critical examination of both Western Anthropology and contributions of Muslim anthropologists. He believes that some of the results of modern Anthropology can be benefited in the discussion, while some of the contributions of Muslim anthropologists are not necessarily Islamic. However, it is clear from the book that Akbar Ahmed is less critical in scrutinizing contributions made by the previous Muslim anthropologists.

The failure of Akbar Ahmed to articulate a distinctive Islamic anthropology does not mean that either Islam or anthropology is deficient. The problem stems from combining two different, yet interrelated, approaches to making sense of the world. Different does not mean opposing. Ahmed is right to point out that anthropology helps us understand ourselves by understanding other societies, but he idealizes the discipline by claiming that it realistically fosters appreciation for the oneness of humanity. The awareness of oneness and the ability to better appreciate others need not depend on ethnographic research. As Varisco concluded in his review of Ahmed’s Islamic anthropology:

The anthropologist provides information through study of human cultures but interpretation of the humanitarian or spiritual implications if such observation transcends academic discipline. The anthropologist always operates within a worldview whether that is secular or religious, conservative or liberal. But worldviews are not easily boxed up in real time. There will always be a point, as Evans-Pritchard knew so well, when anthropology gives way to theology even philosophy. Ahmed’s faith-based anthropology leads to a philosophical point of no return (Daniel Martin Varisco, 2005: 134).


[1] A well-known British social anthropologist.
[2] An eminent American cultural anthropologist.
[3] For further discussion on this issue, refer to Eickelman, D.F. 1981. The Middle East: An Anthropological Approach. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall Inc, El-Zein, A.H.M. 1974. The Sacred Meadows: A Structural Analysis of Religious Symbolism in an East African Town. Illinois: Northwestern University Press and El-Zein, A.H.M. 1977. “Beyond Ideology and Theology: The Search for the Anthropology of Islam”. Annual Reviews of Anthropology, 6: 227-254.

Monday, December 15, 2008

And I Love You Too....


Mata Ke Mata

Ke Hati

Hati ke Hati

Hati Hati

Bibir Ke Bibir

Bicara Janji

Janji Ke Janji

Jadi Menjadi

Rindu ke Rindu

Termimpi mimpi

Hari Ke Hari

Nanti di nanti

Menanti Pasti

Pasti Disisi

Sisiku Kini

Ternanti nanti

Bila diceritakan tentang cinta

Segalanya muncul sekelip mata

Semuanya di depan matanya dia

Makan tidur pun tak lena

Dia…. Cinta

Dia…. Sayang

Aku…. Dicinta

Aku…. Disayang

Kamu yang bawa ku terbang

Kamulah jua yang membawa cinta

Ke jalannya

Kamu yang bawa ku terbang

Ke bintang kejora cinta kita

Kekal untuk selamanya

Kita berdua kian bermesra

Rindu makin membara

Kita berdua bermain kata

Pasang surut tak endah

Dia…. Cinta

Dia…. Sayang

Aku…. Dicinta

Aku…. Disayang

Kamu yang bawa ku terbang

Kamulah jua yang membawa cinta

Ke jalannya

Kamu yang bawa ku terbang

Ke bintang kejora cinta kita

Kekal untuk selamanya

Mata hati jiwaku

Seluas langkah di

Sebesar cubisan

Namun segitiga bermuda

Ku ganti sungai merah

Dengan darahku

Rinduku meragutkan

Kehangatan cinta kita

Mungkin tidak sehebat mana

Ku di pertikaikan kasih

Ku bukan tempat dua ketiga

Di hati ku cuma kau yang satu

Seterusnya nyatanya hanya

Dirinya jiwanya

Jiwa ku rentas benua

Warna angkasa cinta

Cintalah kamu

Kamu yang bawa ku terbang

Kamulah jua yang membawa cinta

Ke jalannya

Kamu yang bawa ku terbang

Ke bintang kejora cinta kita

Kekal untuk selamanya

**********

Buat kamu yang sentiasa tersenyum indah tiap kali bertemu. Yang sentiasa akan tertawa manja tiap kali daku berjenaka. Yang sentiasa kelihatan comel dengan pakaiannya.

Buat kamu yang senantiasa ku rindu. Yang pasti membawa ku terbang tinggi. Yang pasti akan membawa daku ke bintang kejora…..

*pitam* *_*

Saturday, December 13, 2008

History of Anthropology

The anthropologist Eric Wolf once characterized anthropology as "the most scientific of the humanities, and the most humanistic of the social sciences." Understanding how anthropology developed contributes to understanding how it fits into other academic disciplines.

Contemporary anthropologists claim a number of earlier thinkers as their forebears and the discipline itself has many sources. One view sees anthropology as an outgrowth of the Age of Enlightenment, when European thinkers began systematically examining human behavior and institutions. In the 18th and 19th centuries, the fields of study that eventually gave rise most directly to modern anthropology attempted to deal with Europeans' (and their colonists') expanded awareness in three broad areas:1) a greater appreciation of their own past, new discoveries regarding Greek, Roman, Egyptian, and Near Eastern antiquities, and the social changes with the growth of cities and industry (Classics, Egyptology, folklore, etc.); 2) encounters with non-European people, whose customs, appearance, languages, religious beliefs, and social organization often differed strikingly from those of Europeans (ethnology, philology, etc.); and 3) growing curiosity about the biological history of humanity, the historical relationships among existing populations, and the relatively new idea that human beings could be related to other primates (Natural history, Zoology, Biological Anthropology, etc.).

Scholarly traditions of jurisprudence, history, philology and sociology developed during this time and informed the development of the social sciences of which anthropology was a part. At the same time, the Romantic reaction to the Enlightenment produced thinkers such as Herder and later Wilhelm Dilthey whose work formed the basis for the culture concept which is central to the discipline.

These intellectual movements in part grappled with one of the greatest paradoxes of modernity: as the world is becoming smaller and more integrated, people's experience of the world is increasingly atomized and dispersed. As Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels observed in the 1840s: All old-established national industries have been destroyed or are daily being destroyed. They are dislodged by new industries, whose introduction becomes a life and death question for all civilized nations, by industries that no longer work up indigenous raw material but raw material drawn from the remotest zones; industries whose products are consumed, not only at home, but in every quarter of the globe. In place of the old wants, satisfied by the production of the country, we find new wants, requiring for their satisfaction the products of distant lands and climes. In place of the old local and national seclusion and self-sufficiency, we have intercourse in every direction, universal interdependence of nations.

Ironically, this universal interdependence, rather than leading to greater human solidarity, has coincided with increasing racial, ethnic, religious, and class divisions, and new – and to some confusing or disturbing – cultural expressions. These are the conditions of life with which people today must contend, but they have their origins in processes that began in the 16th century and accelerated in the 19th century.

Institutionally anthropology emerged from natural history (expounded by authors such as Buffon). This was the study of human beings - typically people living in European colonies. Thus studying the language, culture, physiology, and artifacts of European colonies was more or less equivalent to studying the flora and fauna of those places. It was for this reason, for instance, that Lewis Henry Morgan could write monographs on both The League of the Iroquois and The American Beaver and His Works. This is also why the material culture of 'civilized' nations such as China have historically been displayed in fine arts museums alongside European art while artifacts from Africa or Native North American cultures were displayed in Natural History Museums with dinosaur bones and nature dioramas. This being said, curatorial practice has changed dramatically in recent years, and it would be wrong to see anthropology as merely an extension of colonial rule and European chauvinism, since its relationship to imperialism was and is complex.



Anthropology in the Muslim World
Abū Rayhān Bīrūnī (973-1048), a Muslim scholar who carried out extensive, personal investigations of the people, customs, and religions of the Indian subcontinent, has been described as "the first anthropologist." Like modern anthropologists, he engaged in extensive participant observation with a given group of people, learnt their language and studied their primary texts, and presented his findings with objectivity and neutrality using cross-cultural comparisons. He wrote detailed comparative studies on the anthropology of religions and cultures in the Middle East, Mediterranean and especially South Asia. Biruni's anthropology of religion was only possible for a scholar deeply immersed in the lore of other nations. Biruni and Ibn Khaldun have also been praised by several scholars for their anthropology of Islam.

Biruni developed a sophisticated methodology for his anthropological studies. For example, he wrote the following in the opening passages of his India: "No one will deny that in questions of historic authenticity hearsay does not equal eyewitness; for in the latter the eye of the observer apprehends the substance of that which is observed, both in the time when and in the place where it exists, whilst hearsay has its peculiar drawbacks." He was also aware that there are limitations to eye-witness accounts: "The object of eye-witness can only be actual momentary existence, whilst hearsay comprehends alike the present, the past and the future".

Biruni was a pioneer in comparative religion and the anthropology of religion. According to Arthur Jeffery, "It is rare until modern times to find so fair and unprejudiced a statement of the views of other religions, so earnest an attempt to study them in the best sources, and such care to find a method which for this branch of study would be both rigorous and just." In the introduction to his India, Biruni himself writes that his intent behind the work was to engage dialogue between Islam and the Indian religions, particularly Hinduism as well as Buddhism. He writes: "Abu-Sahl at-­Tiflisi incited me to write down what I know about the Hindus as a help to those who want to discuss religious questions with them, and as a repertory of information to those who want to associate with them. We think now that what we have related in this book will be sufficient for anyone who wants to converse with the Hindus, and to discuss with them questions of religion, science or literature, on the very basis of their own civilization."

Biruni was aware that statements about a religion would be open to criticism by its adherents, and insisted that a scholar should follow the requirements of a strictly scientific method. According to William Montgomery Watt, Biruni "is admirably objective and unprejudiced in his presentation of facts" but "selects facts in such a way that he makes a strong case for holding that there is a certain unity in the religious experience of the people he considers, even though he does not appear to formulate this view explicitly." Biruni's tradition of comparative cross-cultural study continued in the Muslim world through to Ibn Khaldun's work in the 14th century.


Early 20th-Century Antecedents: Britain
Museums such as the British Museum weren't the only site of anthropological studies: with the New Imperialism period, starting in the 1870s, zoos became unattended "laboratories", especially the so-called "ethnological exhibitions" or "Negro villages". Thus, "savages" from the colonies were displayed, often nudes, in cages, in what has been called "human zoos". For example, in 1906, Congolese pygmy Ota Benga was put by anthropologist Madison Grant in a cage in the Bronx Zoo, labeled "the missing link" between an orangutan and the "white race" — Grant, a renowned eugenicist, was also the author of The Passing of the Great Race (1916). Such exhibitions were attempts to illustrate and prove in the same movement the validity of scientific racism, which first formulation may be found in Arthur de Gobineau's An Essay on the Inequality of Human Races (1853-55). In 1931, the Colonial Exhibition in Paris still displayed Kanaks from New Caledonia in the "indigenous village"; it received 24 million visitors in six months, thus demonstrating the popularity of such "human zoos".

Anthropology grew increasingly distinct from natural history and by the end of the nineteenth century the discipline began to crystallize into its modern form - by 1935, for example, it was possible for T.K. Penniman to write a history of the discipline entitled A Hundred Years of Anthropology. At the time, the field was dominated by 'the comparative method'. It was assumed that all societies passed through a single evolutionary process from the most primitive to most advanced. Non-European societies were thus seen as evolutionary 'living fossils' that could be studied in order to understand the European past. Scholars wrote histories of prehistoric migrations which were sometimes valuable but often also fanciful. It was during this time that Europeans first accurately traced Polynesian migrations across the Pacific Ocean for instance - although some of them believed it originated in Egypt. Finally, the concept of race was actively discussed as a way to classify - and rank - human beings based on inherent biological difference.



19th-Century Antecedents: United States
Late eighteenth century ethnology established the scientific foundation for the field, which began to mature in the United States during the presidency of Andrew Jackson (1829-1837). Jackson was responsible for implementing the Indian Removal Act, the coerced and forced removal of an estimated 100,000 American Indians during the 1830s to Indian Territory in present-day Oklahoma; for insuring that the franchise was extended to all white men, irrespective of financial means while denying virtually all black men the right to vote; and, for suppressing abolitionists’ efforts to end slavery while vigorously defending that institution. Finally, he was responsible for appointing Chief Justice Roger B. Taney who would decide, in Scott v. Sandford (1857), that Negroes were "beings of an inferior order, and altogether unfit to associate with the white race. . . and so far inferior that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect." As a result of this decision, black people, whether free or enslaved, could never become citizens of the United States.

It was in this context that the so-called American School of Anthropology thrived as the champion of polygenism or the doctrine of multiple origins—sparking a debate between those influenced by the Bible who believed in the unity of humanity and those who argued from a scientific standpoint for the plurality of origins and the antiquity of distinct types. Like the monogenists, these theories were not monolithic and often used words like races, species, hybrid, and mongrel interchangeably. A scientific consensus began to emerge during this period "that there exists a Genus Homo, embracing many primordial types of ‘species’." Charles Caldwell, Samuel George Morton, Samuel A. Cartwright, George Gliddon, Josiah C. Nott, and Louis Agassiz, and even South Carolina Governor James Henry Hammond were all influential proponents of this school. While some were disinterested scientists, others were passionate advocates who used science to promote slavery in a period of increasing sectional strife. All were complicit in establishing the putative science that justified slavery, informed the Dred Scott decision, underpinned miscegenation laws, and eventually fueled Jim Crow. Samuel G. Morton, for example, claimed to be just a scientist but he did not hesitate to provide evidence of Negro inferiority to John C. Calhoun, the prominent pro-slavery Secretary of State to help him negotiate the annexation of Texas as a slave state.

The high-water mark of polygenic theories was Josiah Nott and Gliddon’s voluminous eight-hundred page tome titled Types of Mankind, published in 1854. Reproducing the work of Louis Agassiz and Samuel Morton, the authors spread the virulent and explicitly racist views to a wider, more popular audience. The first printing sold out quickly and by the end of the century it had undergone nine editions. Although many Southerners felt that all the justification for slavery they needed was found in the Bible, others used the new science to defend slavery and the repression of American Indians. Abolitionists, however, felt they had to take this science on its own terms. And for the first time, African American intellectuals waded into the contentious debate. In the immediate wake of Types of Mankind and during the pitched political battles that led to Civil War, Frederick Douglass (1818-1895), the statesman and persuasive abolitionist, directly attacked the leading theorists of the American School of Anthropology. In an 1854 address, entitled "The Claims of the Negro Ethnologically Considered," Douglass argued that "by making the enslaved a character fit only for slavery, [slave-owners] excuse themselves for refusing to make the slave a freeman.... For let it be once granted that the human race are of multitudinous origin, naturally different in their moral, physical, and intellectual capacities... a chance is left for slavery, as a necessary institution.... There is no doubt that Messrs. Nott, Glidden, Morton, Smith and Agassiz were duly consulted by our slavery propagating statesmen." (p. 287).



20th-Century Developments
Drawing on the methods of the natural sciences as well as developing new techniques involving not only structured interviews but unstructured "participant-observation" – and drawing on the new theory of evolution through natural selection, they proposed the scientific study of a new object: "humankind," conceived of as a whole. Crucial to this study is the concept "culture," which anthropologists defined both as a universal capacity and propensity for social learning, thinking, and acting (which they see as a product of human evolution and something that distinguishes Homo sapiens – and perhaps all species of genus Homo – from other species), and as a particular adaptation to local conditions that takes the form of highly variable beliefs and practices. Thus, "culture" not only transcends the opposition between nature and nurture; it transcends and absorbs the peculiarly European distinction between politics, religion, kinship, and the economy as autonomous domains. Anthropology thus transcends the divisions between the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities to explore the biological, linguistic, material, and symbolic dimensions of humankind in all forms.

In the mid-20th century, American anthropology began to study its own history more systematically. In 1967 Marvin Harris published his The Rise of Anthropological Theory, presenting argumentative examinations of anthropology's historical developments, and George W. Stocking, Jr., established the historicist school, examining the historical contexts of anthropological movements.


Note: This article was taken from www.wikipedia.org

Friday, December 12, 2008

Ana Bahibbak.....


Hujan turun membasahi bumi Damansara. Sejak tadi, hujan masih tidak lagi teduh. Lebat. Sebagai menyahut gegakan sang kodok yang menyanyi-nyanyi memanggilnya. Aku sedang berkira-kira untuk pergi atau tidak ke rumah Allah Maghrib nanti.

“Hmmm…. Hujan plak. Camner nak pegi nie. Malas betol nak pi hujan-hujan macam nie…..”

Getus hati ku sendirian. Walaupun hakikatnya perginya bukanlah berjalan kaki, tapi dengan kereta. Namun, begitulah kebiasaannya jika hari hujan. Kedinginan yang mencengkam tubuh ku membuatkan aku malas untuk pergi. Menarik ku untuk bermalas-malasan di rumah. Sambil menyiapkan kerja-kerja ku yang masih menimbun ini.

“Tapi….. Kalau tak pi nanti tak dapatlah plak jumpa… Hmmm…..”

Kekeliruan mula bersarang di minda ku. Membuatkan ku termenung sebentar.

“Ahh… Pegi ajerlah. Bukan jauh mana pung…”

Terus aku bangkit dari duduk ku. Menuju ke bilik mandi….

………………..

“Ehhh… Awak pekaba? Lama tak nampak. Outstation ker?”
“Sihat, alhamdulillah. Takderlah. Ader ajer kat sini. Cuma hari tue demam. Tue yang takder tue. Awak sihat?”
“Alhamdulillah. Nie demamnya dah baik belum?”
“Bolehlah. Dah pergi klinik dah pun….”
“Baguslah macam tue…”
“Hmmm….. Kita nie selalu jumpa. Since the day saya tersalah pakai sandal awak. Tapi kita tak tahu pun nama masing-masing kan….”
“Hahahahahahaha….. Yerlah. Awak cakap baru saya perasan. Apa nama awak?”
“Hmmm….. Azhar. Khairil Azhar…. Awak?”
“Lily… Lily Suryani…..”
“Hmmmm….. Sedapnya nama. Macam nama nenek saya…..”
“Hahahahaha…. Serius ke?”
“Taklah awak nie. Saya gurau ajerlah……”
“Awak nie ada-ada ajer…..”
“Park keta kat mana?”
“Tue hujung sana. Nak redah hujan lebat lagi. Takut demam nanti….”
“Takperlah. Nak saya hantarkan? Saya ader payung nie, besar. Boleh muat dua orang….”
“Thanx awak…”

Dan kami berjalan menuju ke kereta itu. Meredah hujan yang masih garang…..

“Awak kerja mana?”
“Hmmmm….. Saya kerja kat Gombak, teaching. Awak?”
“Saya kerja kat area PJ ajer. Dekat-dekat sini…”
“Owhh…. Okay. Dah sampai dah pun…..”
“Alrite. Thank you. See you tomorrow…”

Katanya sebelum berlalu. Sambil melemparkan senyuman yang teramat manis. Dan dalam hati aku berbisik…..

“Ana bahibbak…….”

Christmas Gifts....

It is a Marc Jacob's Cutton given by someone who suddenly called me "yang". I am so confused what does the person trying to convey. Is is "sayang" or what? *pitam aku seminggu*

It is a pirate rabbit doll given by my "bestest, closest" budaksetan, Kelvin. We used to quarrel, like a cat and a dog, but I do know that he loves me so much as his adik. Hohohohoho (",) *happy aku tiga hari*

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Anjakan Paradigma.....


Banyak yang telah diperkatakan oleh kita semua bilamana kita membicarakan tentang perubahan pemikiran, atau dalam bahasa yang lebih indah, anjakan paradigma. Namun tidak banyak yang dapat memberikan impak yang positif terhadap kita semua.

Tun Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad 30 tahun yang lalu telah menulis sebuah buku yang bertajuk The Malay Dilemma. Buku ini secara tidak langsung menceritakan keadaan bangsa Melayu pada ketika itu yang sanagt mundur, dan bentuk-bentuk tindakan yang diambil oleh para pemimpin Melayu untuk memperbaiki keadaan tersebut. Buku ini juga secara tidak langsung mencabar bangsa Melayu untuk memperbaiki keadaan mereka dengan mengubah cara pemikiran mereka. Namun sayang, setelah hampir 30 tahun buku tersebut ditulis, dan selepas 22 tahun negara ditadbir oleh Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, bangsa Melayu tidak mampu melaksanakan anjakan paradigma demi mengubah keadaan sosio-ekonomi mereka.

Kini datang pula seorang tokoh agama, muda namun bersuara lantang, memperjuangkan perkara yang sama – perubahan minda. Hampir 3 tahun tokoh ini, Dr. Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin, diberi mandat memegang jawatan Mufti Kerajaan Negeri Perlis. Dan dalam masa 3 tahun ini, Alhamdulillah dengan izin Allah s.w.t., banyak perubahan-perubahan yang telah dapat dilaksanakan, terutamanya dalam perkara-perkara merubah cara dan bentuk pemikiran masyarakat Melayu Islam Malaysia. Kolum tetap beliau di Mingguan Malaysia diikuti oleh ramai pihak, sehinggakan ada yang menceritakan mantan Perdana Menteri, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad juga mengikuti tulisan beliau di ruangan Mind Mufti Mingguan Malaysia tersebut.

Perubahan yang dicanangkan oleh tokoh muda ini ialah perubahan pemikiran bersandarkan sunnah (berdasarkan pemahaman penulis dari tulisan-tulisan Dr. Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin). Malahan dalam Islam, kita senantiasa digalakkan untuk berhujah berdasarkan fakta, bukanlah berdasarkan ikut-ikutan sahaja. Sesungguhnya agama yang suci ini tidak pernah, walau sekali, menggalakkan umatnya bertaqlid dalam apa bentuk sekalipun. Setiap perkara itu perlulah diketahui dengan jelas hujah-hujah yang menghalalkannya atau mengharamkannya.

Pernah satu hari, ketika penulis mengikuti kulliyyah Maghrib di Masjid Kota Damansara, ustaz yang memberikan kulliyyah itu berdiskusi tentang solat. Ustaz tersebut berkata bilamana kita hendak mendirikan solat perlulah kita berniat dengan lafaz bibir sebelum mengangkat takbir. Dan dengan secara sinis, ustaz tersebut berkata sekarang ada pula yang bercakap tidak perlu berniat dengan lafaz bibir, tapi terus mengangkat takbir dan berniat ketika takbir di dalam hati sahaja. Ustaz tersebut juga ada bertanya kiranya ada hadis yang melarang kita berniat dengan lafaz bibir. Kasihan… Penulis sebenarnya ketika itu ingin sahaja bertanya kepada ustaz tersebut, adakah terdapat hadis yang menyatakan ketika nabi solat, baginda hanya berniat di dalam hati sahaja ketika mengangkat takbir? Namun penulis mendiamkan diri sahaja demi untuk menjaga air muka ustaz tersebut……

Inilah perubahan minda yang perlu kita laksanakan; berhujah dan berdiskusi biarlah berlandaskan pada perkara yang hakiki dan benar, atau yang paling hampir kepada hakiki atau benar. Dengan kata lain, berhujah biarlah dengan fakta yang sahih, bukannya sekadar kita mengikut apa yang orang lain kata. Dan perubahan ini hanya akan dapat diterjemahkan jika semangat iqra’ dan menuntut ilmu dapat kita pupuk dan semai dikalangan masyarakat kita. Minda akan kekal pada takuk yang sama, jikalau ianya tidak diasah dengan pembacaan wacana-wacana ilmu. Dan bilamana minda itu sudah dikemas dengan ilmu, maka anjakan paradigma bukanlah satu perkara yang mustahil untuk dilaksanakan.

Pokoknya, asas kepada perubahan minda ini adalah ilmu. Tanpa ilmu ianya tidak akan dapat dilaksanakan. Dan budaya menuntut ilmu perlulah dipupuk dan dijadikan kebiasaan dikalangan kita semua. Moga-moga usaha murni kita ini akan diberkati oleh Allah hendaknya. Ameen…..

Monday, December 8, 2008

Concept Empiricism


Representing and Doing: Two Faces of Concepts

In a recent paper, Jerry Fodor (2004) has suggested that rationalists about concepts can be distinguished from defenders of other theories by their view of what concepts are for. Rationalists claim that concepts are for thinking. More precisely, to have a concept is to be able to think about something. Having the concept DOG is being able to think about dogs. A better word for thinking, in this context, might be representing. Concepts are primarily in the business of representing. For opponents of rationalism, including empiricists, having a concept is being able to do something. For example, having the concept DOG might be construed as the ability to categorize or interact with dogs. Fodor’s way of setting things up distinguishes two broad functions for concepts: rationalists say that concepts are primarily in the business of representing, and opponents of rationalism say that concepts are primarily in the business of doing. This distinction should not be regarded as a disjoint dichotomy. Empiricists do not deny that concepts representing. Rather, they claim that concepts have other equally important functions. Empiricists say that concepts must be able to representing things in a way that facilitates interaction with those things. Representing must be in the service of doing. The difference between Fodor and the empiricists is captured by a difference in the nature of the mental representations that they postulate. Fodor thinks concepts are like words. They are arbitrary symbols in a language of thought. There is little one can do with an arbitrary symbol.

A symbol does not include any instructions for how to interact with the category that it represents. For the empiricist, concepts are more like mental images, or inner models. Representations of that kind can be used to guide action. We can read features of a category off of our concepts if empiricism is right. I will discuss these issues of representational format below. In this section, I want to consider another question about the distinction between representing and doing. Fodor attempts to separate these two functions by developing a theory of representation that would allow concepts to represent things without encoding the kinds of features that would allow them to do anything. That theory constitutes one of the best current explanations of how concepts represent. If the theory supports Fodor’s rationalism, then empiricists have reason for concern. My goal here is to show that Fodor’s theory of reference is actually better suited for empiricism. Fodor (1990) develops a theory of representation that promises to explain how concepts represent without making any mention of what they do. This allows him to secure the conclusion that representing is prior to doing, which is a central tenet of rationalism. I begin with a summary of the theory.

According to Fodor, a concept represents that which would reliably cause the concept to be activated. A concept represents dogs if encounters with dogs would ordinarily cause that concept to activate. This is only a first approximation. Formulated in this way, the account faces an obvious objection. Our DOG concepts are activated when we encounter dogs, but they are also activated when we encounter things that merely look like dogs, e.g. foxes in bad lighting. If concepts represent anything that activates them, any concept that represents dogs would also represent foxes. To solve this problem, Fodor notes that there is an asymmetric dependency relation between dogs and foxes with respect to our DOG concepts: foxes would not cause our DOG concepts to activate were it not for the fact that dogs do, but the converse is not true: the fact that dogs cause our DOG concepts to activate is not a consequence of the fact that foxes do. Fodor construes this asymmetry synchronically, in terms of counterfactual dependencies. I will not argue the point here, but I think the best way to make sense of it, is diachronically. A DOG concept is one that was created in the context of dog encounters. Fox encounters would not cause the concept to activate were it not for dogs having done so in the past, but not conversely. On this reading, a concept represents a category when two conditions are met:

Nomological causation: the concepts is disposed to be reliably activated by encounters with members of the category, and

Etiological causation: encounters with members of the category played a role in the acquisition of the concept.

Fodor thinks that concepts represent in roughly this way (with a synchronic condition in place of the etiological causation clause). He also thinks that this story favors the hypothesis that concepts are primary in the business of representing, not doing. To see why, it is important to consider two other alternatives to this causal theory of reference. According to one view, concepts refer by resemblance. They are mental images that are structurally isomorphic with the things they represent. According to another view concepts are feature sets that refer via description. The concept DOG refers to dogs, because the concept dog contains a collection of features describing dogs, and dogs are the only things that satisfy the description. DOG contains FURRY, BARKS, QUADRUPEDAL, and so on. By denying these two theories of reference, Fodor is able to defend the view that concepts are unstructured arbitrary symbols (Fodor, 1998). They are words in a language of thought. Fodor can defend the language of thought story only be arguing that concepts do not depend on description or resemblance to refer. An individual word does not describe anything, and it does not look like what it refers to. By embracing a causal theory of reference, Fodor explains how word-like mental representations can refer. Without this, it would be difficult to maintain that concepts are couched in an arbitrary code. It would also be hard to maintain that concepts are primarily in the business of representing. An arbitrary symbol cannot be used, on its own to recognize dogs or draw inferences about dogs.

It is a dog symbol in the purest sense: it represents dogs and does nothing else. A mental image of a dog represents dogs and can also be used to recognize them. A dog description represents dogs and can also be used to draw inferences about them. Fodor’s causal theory of reference secures his hypothesis that concepts are primarily in the business of representing, not doing. Fodor’s mental word theory is radically different from the way most psychologists think about concepts. Psychologists emphasize the role that concepts play in categorization. If concepts are tools for categorizing, they cannot be unstructured word-like entities. They must be built up from features. Some psychologists say that DOG is a prototype; others say it is a mini-theory; and still others say it is a set of exemplar representations. As a rationalist, Fodor thinks that a theory of concepts need not explain how we categorize. His mental word theory is ideally suited for rationalism. After all, words in public languages represent, but we cannot categorize with them; they are arbitrary symbols. On Fodor’s view categorization is achieved by independent mechanisms. He doesn’t offer an account, but he might say that we have complex mental databases containing perceptual information, theories, prototypes, memory traces, and any number of features and facts. That is to say, categorization is achieved using the kinds of mental mechanisms that psychologists postulate. Think of a concept as a label on a large mental file. Information in that file, and information stored elsewhere can play a role in categorization.

The concept hovers safely above the overflowing sheets and scraps in the file. Items in the file represent what category members look like, the ontological domain they belong to, the attributes of specific instances, and so forth. But only the label represents the category itself. On the face of it, Fodor seems to have what he wants. He has a theory of how mental representation works that is consistent with rationalism. Concepts are arbitrary symbols that can be used for nothing other than representing categories. They cannot be used to draw inferences, to plan actions, or to categorize. All of those functions are handled by the contents of our mental files. But this picture is very odd. It renders concepts needlessly anaemic. Why should we say that concepts are arbitrary labels, rather than identifying concepts with the contents of our mental files? After all, the contents of those files do much more work. They allow us to categorize and act. Moreover, these files are absolutely essential for Fodor’s own theory of representation. A mental label represents a category by being reliably activated by instances of that category. But the label can be activated by category instances only if we have mechanisms that allow us to recognize those instances. An arbitrary DOG symbol can be triggered by dogs only if we have resources for recognizing dogs. Fodor assumes that all of the necessary resources are contained in our mental files. But once he makes that concession, the arbitrary labels begin to look unnecessary. It seems we should identity concepts with the file contents, rather than the file labels. We should say that concepts are the mechanisms that allow us to recognize categories rather than arbitrary mental words that flash on in the head when a category has been recognized. The labels are entirely unnecessary.

The moral is that Fodor’s theory of representation may not favour rationalism after all. Once we adopt a causal theory, we are forced to postulate mechanisms that allow us to reliably detect category instances. Once we postulate such mechanisms, we might as well identify them with concepts. We do not need to postulate arbitrary labels. Concepts can be complex databases. Such databases allow us to represent, but they also allow us to do things; they allow us to interact successfully with the world. So representing and doing are not disjoint functions, on this picture. They are intimately linked. On Fodor’s theory, we think using unstructured symbols. DOG is just an arbitrary word in the language of thought. On the view I am recommending, DOG is constituted instead by the representations used to identify dog. Thus, DOG is constituted by features that tell us what dogs look like and what their behavioural dispositions and affordances for interaction are. These features allow us to represent dogs, by securing reliable casual relations with then, but they also allow us to recognize dogs, and do things with dogs. Rather than saying that concepts are for representing, I would say that representations are for doing. The only reason we represent the world is to make our way through it. If concepts are not guides to possibilities for action, they are not useful. Concepts that merely represent belong to the fictional realm of pure Cartesian egos. Conceptual capacities that evolved in the real world allow us to run for cover or play fetch. But concepts also represent. The mechanisms that allow us to identify objects and interact with them also, thereby, establish reliably causal relations with those objects. Fodor himself shows how such causal relations can be used to establish reference. Ironically, his theory of reference fits perfectly with the anti-rationalist program.


Note: This article is based on the latest book that I am reading currently. I know that it is a bit technical (sorry I am a left-handed!!), but I really hope you guys can digest it. Cause it helps you to understand certain things that are really difficult to comprehend in our daily life.