24 November 2008

malaysia: yoga haraam

according to malaysia's national fatwa council, yoga's hindu origins would 'corrupt' muslims and therefore should be banned:

The National Fatwa Council's chairman, Abdul Shukor Husin, said many Muslims fail to understand that yoga's ultimate aim is to be one with a god of a different religion — an explanation disputed by many practitioners who say yoga need not have a religious element.

"We are of the view that yoga, which originates from Hinduism, combines physical exercise, religious elements, chanting and worshipping for the purpose of achieving inner peace and ultimately to be one with god," Abdul Shukor said...

The edict reflects the growing influence of conservative Islam in Malaysia, a multiethnic country of 27 million people where the majority Muslim Malays lost seats in March elections and where minority ethnic Chinese and mostly Hindu ethnic Indians have been clamoring for more rights.

Recently, the council said girls who act like boys violate Islam's tenets. The government has also occasionally made similar conservative moves, banning the use of the word "Allah" by non-Muslims earlier this year, saying it would confuse Muslims...

In recent years, yoga — a collection of spiritual and physical practices, aimed at integrating mind, body and spirit — has been increasingly practiced in gyms and dedicated yoga centers around the world.

There are no figures for how many Muslims practice yoga in Malaysia, but many yoga classes have Muslims attending.

In the United States, where it has become so popular that many public schools began offering it in gym classes, yoga has also come under fire.

Some Christian fundamentalists and even secular parents have argued that yoga's Hindu roots conflict with Christian teachings and that using it in school might violate the separation of church and state. Egypt's highest theological body also banned yoga for Muslims in 2004.

among those practicing yoga in malaysia are cancer patients, for whom yoga, qi gong and line dancing sessions are organized as methods of relaxation and light exercise, as well as group interaction to "promote positive thinking and unity among survivors of different race and religion".

hmm, i wonder what the reaction to this will be at my markaz yoga group?!

18 November 2008


i will not think of the friends i have lost
of the friends i could not make
of the time wasted
of the memories forgotten
of hearts broken.

i will not think of the places i never visited
of the journeys i never made
of the roles i never played
of a me i never found.

i will not think of the opportunities i did not take up
of the articles i did not write
of the presentations i did not make
of name cards thrown away.

i will not dwell on what could have been,
on a time long gone

i will not think.

someday, i will not think.

09 November 2008

soul satisfaction

the past three weeks or so have been awesome in terms of reading and music satisfaction. it started with 'bee season' by myla goldberg. while the plot was not bad, it was the prose that really engaged me, as well as several unique perspectives. the 'kaleidoscope' room at the end took the cake, i think. before finishing 'bee season' i also started reading kate atkinson's 'when will there be good news?'. apart from the aptness of the tile (this was around the time the usd 700 billion bailout plan was making waves), atkinson is one of my favorite authors. admittedly, she hasn't written anything as brilliant as her debut 'behind the scenes at the museum', but her recent foray into the literary mystery/suspense world has been very fruitful. i am already anticipating her next novel, in which two of her protagonists have to get together.

while in the middle of these two novels, i started listening to new music as well: jason mraz, travis' 'ode to j smith', leona lewis (not worth mentioning though) and ani difranco's 'red letter year', which is the best of the lot, not to mention 'nicer' than her previous music. on my waiting list are still new albums by keane, tracy chapman and dido; these should happily get me through the rest of the year (and beyond).

to top it all off, i have just started reading 'the guernsey literary and potato peel pie society', which is great; i am already in love with the characters. it's a very short novel and i can see myself soon mourning its end.

to have read three highly enjoyable books in succession is not such a common experience. to have the experience interspersed with wonderful new music is even rarer. i don't know what i will read next, but i will thoroughly enjoy tglappps first. recommendations are always welcome.

08 November 2008


"you need to come to terms with the fact that a certain situation has altered irrevocably and things will never be the same again. the time has come to move on. it should not be a problem as you like challenges. whatever comes next will be even better than what has passed."