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Antara Syariat dan Budaya Melayu

Semalam, waktu saya sedang membaca buku sementara menunggu tidur, isteri saya memberitahu bahawa ada kenalannya yang meninggal dunia akibat Covid-19. Belum sempat saya memberikan respond, isteri saya menyambung kembali; “Suaminya yang baru kematian isteri tidak sampai 40 hari itu sudah mahu menikah lagi”. Mendengar itu, maka saya batalkan skema respond pertama saya dan berfikir seketika untuk mencari ayat yang mudah dan jelas kerana isu “nikah lagi” ini adalah isu yang mudah mengguris buat kaum isteri. Lalu saya bertanyakan beberapa soalan:

Adakah lelaki itu masih bekerja? Kerja sebagai apa dia?
-Tidak tahu.

Mereka ada berapa orang anak semuanya?
-Tidak tahu.

Apakah mereka ada anak kecil selingkungan umur Faiq (anak kami yang berusia 6 bulan)?
-Tidak pasti.

Persoalan si suami yang membuat keputusan untuk menikah lagi setelah kematian isterinya ini boleh kita lihat dari pelbagai sisi yang berbeza. 

Jika kita lihat dari sisi adat, maka ianya boleh mengundang persepsi yang kurang baik. Oleh sebab itu kita sering mendengar ungkapan “tanah kubur masih merah” yang popular digunakan dikalangan masyarakat Melayu untuk menidakkan perkara-perkara yang kononnya menyalahi adat. 

Jika kita lihat dari sisi seorang feminis pula (bukan semua), si suami ini mungkin diheret dan disabit hukum kononnya dia berideologi patriarki. Berkahwin lagi ini walaupun setelah kematian isteri adalah cuma alasan untuk berpoligami, menurut tuntutan nafsu semata-mata. 

Sebagai seorang yang beragama Islam, saya fikir wajar untuk kita melihat dari sisi agama yang berteraskan hukum Allah dan sunnah Rasul. Tidak pula saya jumpa mana-mana bukti yang mengatakan tindakan si suami itu menyalahi syariat Islam.

Lalu dengan berani saya menjawab :

“Mungkin ada perkara yang mendesak si suami untuk berkahwin lain segera. Lagipun apa yang dia buat itu tidak salah di sisi agama.”  

Mendengar jawapan saya itu, isteri saya terus meletakkan handphonenya ke meja sisi dan menarik keras selimutnya, tanda masa perbincangan telah tamat. Tahulah saya bahawa dia telah menilai persoalan dia sendiri dari sisi seorang isteri, tidak lebih dari itu.

Pagi ini sewaktu bersiap-siap untuk kerja, isteri saya mengungkit kembali persoalan semalam dengan nada sinis mengatakan: “kaum wanita terutama isteri ini kan mudah diganti, Replaceable”. 

Saya hanya tersenyum, tidak menyangka bahawa perkara sekecil ini mampu menjadi sesuatu yang merunsingkan di kotak pemikiran seorang perempuan sehinggakan tidur yang panjang itu masih tidak boleh melupuskannya.  

Kita perlu faham dan pandai membezakan antara budaya dan agama. Dari konteks budaya, mungkin keputusan si suami itu dianggap “taboo” dan tidak menghormati isterinya yang banyak berjasa, apatah lagi buat keluarga si isteri yang mungkin berkecil hati dengan keputusan si suami itu yang tampaknya seperti tidak sabar untuk mencari pengganti. Akan tetapi, seperti yang saya jelaskan tadi, keputusan si suami itu tidaklah menyalahi mana-mana syariat Islam.

Sebagai orang kebiasaan ini, kita jangan terlalu cepat membuat andaian. Janganlah kita begitu mudah menghukum orang lain dengan emosi. Boleh jadi si suami tadi mempunyai tuntutan kerja yang berat dan memerlukan seseorang untuk membantu, menjaga anak-anaknya, apatah lagi jika anak-anaknya itu masih kecil. 

Mungkin sebahagian orang boleh berkata bahawa jika mereka ditempat si suami itu, mereka akan menunggu beberapa bulan atau mungkin bertahun sebelum mula mencari pengganti. Kalau itu adalah pilihan anda, silakan, selagi mana tidak menyalahi syariat agama. Tetapi adalah salah untuk anda menilai orang lain mengikut cara anda sendiri. 

Atau mungkin ada yang beranggapan dengan mencari pengganti secepat itu, rumah tangganya bakal berakhir dengan sebuah kekecewaan. Secepat mana perkahwinan itu bukanlah kayu ukur kebahagiaan bagi sesebuah rumah tangga. Malah, ada orang yang saya kenal, berkeputusan untuk tidak berkahwin lagi itu pun mampu menciptakan kebahagiaannya bersama anak-anak walaupun tanpa sosok seorang isteri/suami.

Sebagai seorang muslim yang bertakwa, seharusnya kita patut beriman dengan qada’ dan qadar, tanamkan dalam diri bahawa soal jodoh ini adalah ketentuan tuhan yang tidak akan boleh kita nilai dengan andaian sendiri. Sepandai manapun kita, tidakkah kita menjadi terlalu sombong, dengan menjatuhkan hukum tentang sebuah kemungkinan yang hanya Allah yang mengetahuinya? 

Seorang muslim yang moden dan progresif, kita perlu pandai membezakan budaya dan agama. Tidak ada masalah bagi saya jika si suami tersebut ingin berkahwin lagi walaupun belum 40 hari kematian isterinya dan begitu juga jika ada wanita yang ingin berkahwin lagi setelah sejurus tamat tempoh iddahnya. Pandangan negatif terhadap mereka ini adalah sekadar tanggapan masyarakat yang dipengaruhi kuat oleh adat resam dan budaya Melayu yang sudah menghantui kita sejak lama dahulu. Bahkan soal “40 hari kematian” itu sendiri tidak wajar dijadikan isu kerana tiada disebut dalam Al-Quran mahupun hadis, cuma hari pengkhususan bagi mereka yang mahu melakukan tahlil untuk ahli keluarga yang pergi meninggalkan mereka buat selamanya.

Namun begitu, saya tidak menolak budaya kita secara total (selagi mana tidak bertentangan dengan syariat agama Islam). Dalam persoalan ini, saya percaya bahawa seorang yang berlaku adil antara tuntutan syariat dan persepsi masyarakat, terutamanya dalam menjaga hati keluarga si isteri itu adalah yang sebaik-baiknya. Peranan kita pula sebagai masyarakat adalah perlu sedia membantu dan meringankan beban saudara kita yang ditimpa musibah dan sekaligus membentuk satu komuniti yang peduli, bukan menyakiti. 

Wallahu A’lam,
Suami yang kalah debat.

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Book Review

Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents

Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents
Author : Isabel Wilkerson

I have read several books on the Ottoman empire and developed a great interest in the subject. To read and to see the historical remains are two different things. I vowed to myself that I will visit the historic land someday. So right after graduation in 2013, my friend Pejo and I decided to spend our last summer holiday in Istanbul. We stayed at a hostel infused with Turkish-European style called Chambers of Boheme located along the Küçük Parmakkapı street. It was a huge room with two double decker beds. When we arrived, the other double decker was already occupied by other renters.

I still remember one night, there was a protest in Taksim Square (a protest against Erdogan’s development plan on Taksim Gezi Park) which was only 5 minutes walking distance from our place. So we decided to have our dinner nearby the hostel and chillaxing in the lobby as we needed the WiFi to check on our job applications. In that lobby, we finally met the guys we shared the room with – two students from UCLA, one white American and one twin-program student from Morocco which I failed to remember their names (still one of my biggest weaknesses – remembering names).

We had a nice conversation over a hot chai that night. We talked about the city, the studies, our experience at our own university etc. I can’t remember exactly how our conversation steered to the topic of racism and oppression that happened in the US. What I can clearly remember was the white American student proudly said that America has evolved greatly and the people have moved on at greater length since the Jim Crow law, especially the whites. “The fact that we now have a black president said it all”, the American guy ended his statement with a grin on his face while sipping the Turkish chai.

The one thing that I and my white American friend could agree on is racism can be minor or severe but cannot be eliminated completely. It is impossible to have a country with different races and not to have racism issues. Even in India, which majority of the people are basically the same race are labelling and grouping the people according to their caste. Isabel has done a great job on bringing the truth to the surface. There is one pivotal occasion that helped Barack Obama become the first African-American president.

In 2008, the American economy had suffered badly from the subprime mortgage crisis. The banks were under a great pressure with excessive housing in the market due to their overzealous lending. Some of the financial institution giants were left with huge debts and worse cases like Lehman Brothers were forced into bankruptcy. The government under President Bush was forced to pass the Troubled Assets Relief Programme (TARP) and started to bail out the major banks and several insurance companies at the cost of $700 billion.

Several weeks before the election, the people started receiving their 401k statement and were furious knowing the fact that their savings account had lost its value by nearly 40%. The people vented out their frustration on the failed Republican government by choosing the Democrat in the election. Despite that, Obama only received 43% votes from the white Americans. In addition to that, the states that won by Obama are the same states that also won by Lincoln in 1860; the states that supported the anti-slavery amendment.

On his second term re-election, Obama scored an even lower percentage from the white American at only 39%. During his time in office, he received many racial threats. People are comparing him and his wife with simian. During his visit to a power plant in Arizona, Jan Brewer – the governor of Arizona at that time was seen wagging her finger on Obama’s face on airport tarmac. Not just that, she also gave an envelope to the president which contained a cynical message of “you have only one more year”. Can you imagine this action coming from a community college certified governor to a Harvad law graduate / the president of the states just because she doesn’t agree with the president’s skin color?

After Obama successfully secured his second term, a white man in Virginia killed himself, his wife and their two children aged 13 and 16. Two months later, another white man in Florida killed himself by overdosing on schizophrenia medication, leaving a suicide note with Obama’s name on it. From the reported news, days before the election result, he even bragged to his partner saying “if Barack gets re-elected, I’m not going to be around”. What was the cause of these horror tragedies? Is it because of the political differences? Or maybe because of mental instability due to health problems? Or plain simple racism? I would bet my money on the third reason.

When it comes to the unfair treatment to the people of different race, America and Germany are the great example; The US had the Confederate army and the Germany had Nazi. In this book, Isabel has pointed out the significant differences between the two countries in terms of their perception of the histories. In some states, the statues of Robert Edward Lee, the general of the Confederate army during the civil war (leader of pro-slavery) can be seen in public areas. Not just that, his name was embedded on roads, buildings, schools and even military barracks. He might have lost his citizenship after the civil war (which he later re-applied and rejected by President Johnson but restored by the US government in 1975) and some land entitlement but he still celebrated in some major parts of the US until today. Just two weeks ago, Virginia finally removed the statue after national protest.

Unlike America, Germany didn’t have any memorial dedicated to the fallen Nazi. Although they don’t have the statues and all, that doesn’t mean they wanted to erase that part of history from their life. In Germany, they put the signage listing all the concentration camps at the train platforms, which were once used by the Nazi to deport the Jews. Apart from that, the government installed hundreds of square shaped brass plates that they called “Stolperstein”, which contains the name, date of deportation and date of death of the Jews at public parks, the pavements, and in front of the house which once belong to the victims according to the available record. Unlike America, the Germans embrace the dark history and commemorate it in a better way for the younger generation to learn. What kind of education does the American hope to show to their kids by celebrating the guy who fought in a war to maintain his ideology that some people are nothing more than domestic animals?

As much as I wanted to agree with my temporary roommate in Istanbul, I can’t shake the fact that America hasn’t moved on from racism. It started as slavery, which evolving to racism and now mutated to modern-racism.

*The rest of the book will be discussed on Kultura Podcast this week.

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Book Review

23 Things They Don’t Tell You about Capitalism

23 Things They Don’t Tell You about Capitalism
Author : Ha-Joon Chang

This book has been recommended to me by one of my colleagues, – a book author/ my co-podcaster/ a currently suffering Arsenal FC fan, Syed Ahmad Fathi when we discussed on our Goodreads list last year in a podcast session. I started this book in early April while I was in Sarawak but then we were shocked with the news of our brothers in Palestine during Ramadhan – making me to put aside this book and start to dig more on Ilan Pappé (The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine) to better understand the root of the never ending conflict. But that is a story of another day.

The author of this book is Ha-Joon Chang, a prominent South Korean economist. He serves as economist/reader at University of Cambridge and has been awarded with Gunnar Myrdal prize in 2003 and Wassily Leontief prize in 2005. To conclude the book in a simple way, this book is a criticism of free-market capitalism. Chang has examined an enormous set of data and discussed the problem he encountered with the system. I am not going to touch on the economic technical terms but there are several issues that caught my attention.

People in poor countries are more entrepreneurial than people in rich countries.

For a country to have a successful economy, they need entrepreneurial people. That is the fact that most of us can accept but it doesn’t mean the poor and developing countries have no or less entrepreneurial people compared to the rich countries. The poor people might be more entrepreneurial to survive the harsh economic environment. In contrast, most people in rich countries have not even come near to becoming entrepreneurs. They mostly work in a company, doing highly specialized and narrowly specified jobs.

Microfinance is too good (theoretically).

From the first point, we know that the entrepreneurial spirit does exist among the poor. We can expect that a portion of that class may have good visions and business ideas but they are still lacking on the most important part – capital. They are always discriminated by the regular banks whenever they try to secure financial aid for the business. All they need is small amount of credit (also known as microcredit) with reasonable interest to set up their business stall for example.

The invention of microcredit commonly attributed to Muhammad Yunus, the economic professor since he set up the pioneering Grameen Bank in his native Bangladesh in 1983. The bank boldly gave out loans to the poor (even to the poor women which traditionally considered to be high-risk cases) and boasted a high repayment ratio of 95% and more. By the early 1990, the success of Grameen Bank was noticed and the idea of microcredit spread fast among other countries.

The idea seems perfect – The poor gain independence and may get out of poverty with their own effort, the government have less pressure by not having to subsidize the poor, and the wealth was created naturally makes the economy richer. Everybody was happy, they could drink tea, eating chapati worry free. At its peak, Professor Yunus and his Grameen Bank was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006.

The theory seems perfect isn’t it? No, it was more like a nightmare. It later revealed that the reason why Grameen Bank could initially charge very low interest rates is because it relied heavily on the hushed-up subsidies it was getting from Bangladeshi government and international donors. In 2001, Grameen Bank was under pressure to give up the subsidies and started to charge 40-50 per cent interest rate. Many small businesses couldn’t make the necessary profit and were forced to close down. No more tea, no more chapati.

Executive pay vs. politics of class envy.

Did you know that the American CEOs have the highest salary among the other CEOs from other rich countries? Currently in the US, most of the CEOs are paid 300 times more than the average worker – even Barack Obama who frequently quoted criticizing what he sees as the excessive executive pay was branded as populist who engage in the politics of class envy by the free-market economist. The ratio of CEO compensation to average worker was 30-40 to 1 in 1970s and has rapidly grown to 300-400 to 1 by the 2000s.

If we applied the free-market logic that people are paid according to their contribution, does that mean the American CEOs have become ten times more productive in 2000s than they were in 1970s? I doubt it.

The average pay for the Japanese CEOs are only 25% of what the Americans received. Does this mean an American CEO is four times more efficient than the Japanese? I doubt it too.

Despite the fat paycheck, the American CEOs are running companies that are no better (sometimes worse) than their Japanese or European competitors. US companies are overpaying their CEOs.

Welfare will create more wealth and economic dynamism.

Often we hear that the government should spend “just enough” on welfare. There was a senior politician in our country who once said “the poor should not always depend on the government”. I am on the same boat as Mr. Chang – felt the government should invest more (not excessively) and create a well-planned welfare for the people.

Let’s picked an example of situation occurred in our country. Last July, we heard the news that the young doctors were conducting the “Hartal Doktor Kontrak”. This happened when the government cannot afford the significant increase of new doctors in the market. We should take a few steps back and look for the cause of this problem.

What makes the youngster choose to be a medical doctor in the first place? There are few that are worth discussing. They have been passionate about anatomy since they were born? (maybe yes, maybe no). They were attracted to the relative earning of medical doctors? (I agree but there are other professions which pay more than the salary of a MD, plus the healthy work-life balance), or maybe just because of the social status so people might call you as doctor instead of “Puan”?. Whatever the reasons are, I think the big part of the real reason is that the youngsters are merely responding to the market behavior.

After the 1997 financial crisis, people became more calculative in taking risks. Most of the younger generation are responding to that (or maybe influenced by their parents) by selecting the most secure career path. How frequent have you ever heard a doctor has been laid off because of structural reshuffling due to merger? What if the government changes their policy and decides to lay off quite a number of medical doctors in 5 to 10 years in the future? They can always set up their own clinics. Meanwhile for other “non-secure” careers (like me), losing the job, the living standards will fall dramatically and you don’t always have the second chance.

The scenario might differ if the government had a better and bigger welfare plan. The free-market economist (and the senior politician that I mentioned before) might reason that bigger welfare might cause the people to be lazy and are less motivated to create wealth. Me and my new friend Mr. Chang beg to differ. When people know that their country have a better welfare plan, they are not hesitant and willing to take the risk to try a new career path – robotic fields for example, so we can have the first Malaysian-made advanced humanoid robot.

Welfare like the other institutions has its upsides and downsides and I don’t deny the fact that excessive spending on welfare might trouble the country as a whole. At the same time, we must also accept that countries with bigger welfare indeed grow faster. The Scandinavian countries for example are spending more than 25% of GDP on welfare and in return they have rapid growth in economy, surpassing the OECD.

Overall, I think the book is a good read for people who are interested to know more about the economy (even if you are not an economic major like me), especially on free-market capitalism.

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Blog

My 31st Birthday

Today, I am officially 31 years old. We couldn’t afford to celebrate the birthday like we used to do because of the pandemic situation, but I still feel blessed and grateful for the chance, to have another quality time with the people that I love most.

So, this year my wife bought me quite a number of coffee making equipment. Actually I have been wanting the Hario’s V60 set and automatic grinder for a long time. I do have an espresso machine from DeLonghi and I love it and the machine is excellent. But after spending 3 month in Sarawak, I grew fond of black coffee. This year birthday presents are among the best I had so far.

The last thing I need now is the electric gooseneck kettle. Actually I bought a regular gooseneck kettle before but it was very hard to monitor and keep the right temperature. I still waiting for the best deal on Shopee to get the new kettle from Timemore.

Maybe I will write a review on the new grinder and the V60 recipe after this.

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Blog

Covid-19 Vaccination Done

Alhamdulillah, I have completed my second dose of vaccine last week. On my first jab, my arm was sore for 2 days and I couldn’t sleep well and carry heavy things. As people said, the second dose was indeed worse. I had the muscle sore, plus a slight fever which lasted for one whole day.

Nothing to complaint, I am grateful for the vaccination as there are a lot of people out there that still waiting for their turns.

Since I am in the middle of reading a book by Isabel Wilkerson and she mentioned about an interesting fact on vaccination, I think it is worth to share the story here.

In the summer of 1721, an epidemic of smallpox, one of the deadliest afflictions of the era, besieged the city of Boston and sent people into quarantine.

A New England Puritan Minister and lay scientist in Boston, Cotton Mather had come into possession of an African slave named Onesimus. Onesimus told Mather of a procedure he had undergone back in his homeland that protected him from the illness.

People in Africa discovered that they could fend off contagions by inoculating themselves with a fluid specimen from the infected person. Mather was intrigued with the idea, researched it, and introduce “variolation”, the precursor to immunization.

Mather tried to persuade the Bostonians to protect themselves with this revolutionary method but only received rage and resistance. The idea sounds bizarre to the Bostonians, and they fear it might spread the smallpox more, and importantly, they wanted nothing to do with the concept from Africa, especially an idea suggested by a slave. Most of the physicians dismissed the idea.

The rage soon became violence; Mather was attacked when someone lighted a grenade in his house but survived with a severe injury.

Despite that, one physician, Zabdiel Boylston, was willing to try the new method. He inoculated his son and the enslaved people he owned. At the end of the epidemic, 14% of Boston’s population perished. But of 240 people that Boylston had inoculated, only six died – one in forty, as against one in seven people who forwent inoculation.

By 1750, vaccinations, based on the method introduced by an African slave, would be the standard practice in Massachusetts and later in the rest of the country.

Had there no caste rules, the human social hierarchy that ranked and judged people by their appearance and skin color, many lives can be saved.

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Blog

Rest In Peace, Brother

Since we first heard of the Covid-19 early last year, our lives have never been the same. People are losing jobs, the economic activities have been halted,  and the worst part is some people we know have been consumed by this deadly virus. 

Last week, I got a text saying that one of our friends had passed away due to Covid-19. Nadzri has been a good friend of ours since our days in university. Actually I saw his Facebook’s status mentioning he and his family, including his toddler, has been infected with Covid and hospitalized in Melaka. Never crossed my mind that would be the last update we will hear from him. 

My heart and prayer to you brother. May the love of Allah enfolds you during your difficult times and He helps you heal with the passage of time. 

اللَّهُمَّ اغْفِرْ لِي وَلَهُ وَأَعْقِبْنِي مِنْهُ عُقْبَى حَسَنَةً

O Allah, forgive me and him and give me from him a better successor
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Financial

My Experience On The Great Bitcoin Crash 2018

In Mid of 2013, I finished my bachelor’s degree, and in the same year, I started my career as Junior Engineer in a local shipyard in Klang. I still remember one day, a close friend of mine, Ibrahim, suddenly called me and offered to sell some of his bitcoin. If I remember correctly, the value for one bitcoin was around RM2000+, but the price he offered me was just around RM 1500 as he needed quick cash, and bitcoin trading at that time was not as easy as today and took a long time. I was skeptical back in those days and simply said that I am not interested. Not just that, I assumed that chance to advise my friend to stay away from that virtual currency as it might be a scam. 

While I was in university, I developed a great interest in investment. At that time, the basic idea in my head was that investment is one of the options where we can multiply our money. Since then, I have read many books on stocks, warrants, IPO, and even Forex. As the famous saying goes, “investment without knowledge is a gamble”. Then I stumbled on some articles on virtual currency. It was new at that time, and people are talking about trading “money” that can be mined from a blockchain? I decided to just focus on stocks instead. 

Several years later, bitcoin has been a popular topic among investors. The value has increased significantly, and that has opened my eyes that this virtual money is not a joke. But still, I had no fundamental knowledge of bitcoin at that time. Who invented this money? How can the money be used? What is bitcoin mining?. These are the questions that constantly circulate in my head whenever I hear of bitcoin. 

One weekend, I took two days off and went to Melaka. I called Ibrahim, and we met for a coffee. We talked about bitcoin, and he tried his very best to explain about this virtual money. It was a fruitful coffee session, and I became more interested in cryptocurrency. Back from Melaka, I decided to study more on bitcoin and the prospect in the future. I realized that some countries like China and Japan already accepted bitcoin as one of the payments in some of the shops. The payment systems in those countries were exciting and complex, compared to Malaysia that still did not fully develop and utilize the e-wallet in day-to-day transactions.  

After doing many studies on the crypto world, the market, and prospects, I am still struggling to find the courage and starting point to start investing in bitcoin. It took me until the end of 2016, and I finally bought a couple of hundred ringgit of bitcoin, hoping the value would increase in one or two years. The market is so volatile where you can expect a sharp turn of profit and loss of thousands of dollars in just 24 hours. I assured myself that I did the studies, consulted the experts; now, it’s time to let the investment roll. 

From time to time, I checked the market and the news regularly to see how my investment goes. It went pretty well, and the profit was good. Little by little, I increase my holding by buying more bitcoin whenever the price seems affordable. After some time, I decided to invest a small portion of my money in another cryptocurrency called Ethereum. 

One year later, the bitcoin value had risen from RM 3500 to more than RM 50k. The technical analysis did not help much at this point, and it was getting hard to predict the demand and price direction for this crypto. I started to see news indicating that bitcoin had reached a bubble and was going to burst soon. Again, I have contacted my friends and experts to get their opinion. There were two reactions; some advised me to hold my shares and sell them once the value reached RM 100k, and some were telling me to dump all my bitcoins as soon as possible. Again, I have contacted my friends and experts to get their opinion. 

I was devastated. At that time, I was in Kuching, Sarawak, and I remember that I sat down with my laptop and thought very hard about what to do. In the end, I came back to the fundamental principle that I always trust in investing. First, invest in something that you really know well and sure about, and second –  don’t be greedy. I wasn’t sure about the market, the market was at all-time highs with no clear indicator of where the price might go, and notably, the investment I made a year ago has given me a decent unrealized profit. Later that day, I decided to let go of all my shares.

Early 2018 was a bad year for many cryptocurrency investors and traders. The bitcoin market took a nosedive and the value plunged by 65%. It was regarded as the Great crypto crash. There were a lot of rumors on the news explaining the reason behind the crash. It was said the creator and most prominent holder of bitcoin; Satoshi Nakamoto, has dumped his/her shares to create another type of cryptocurrency. Some said bitcoin had lost institutionalized support, making the massive gap of demands, forcing the value to fall. Whatever the reasons are, it is always back to the supply and demand principle, and that year, bitcoin lost the demand from a lot of investors who were unsure with the market like me. 

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Technology

The New Nintendo Switch OLED – Released Date, Price, Comparison.

I have been following the Switch development since I first heard the rumours of “Nintendo Pro” two years ago. This week, Nintendo has finally announced a new Switch model with a 7-inch 720p OLED display that will be launched on October 8th this year with $349.99 price tag in North America and £309.99 in the UK. Is this the Nintendo people are talking about?

Hardwares

Switch OLED will still be using the NVIDIA Custom Tegra processor but the new model has bigger storage at 64 GB internal memory, double the Switch OG and Switch Lite. Although you can still push up the storage with microSD, it is good to have extra internal memory.

Display

Switch OLED will not support 4K gaming. But the major selling point for this model is the OLED display. With 7-inch size, this new model will have the largest display size among the Switch family.  Here is the comparison on the display specs between the Switch OG and Switch Lite.

  • The new Nintendo Switch OLED console has a 7-inch OLED multi-touch capacitive touch screen with a resolution of 1280x720p
  • The standard Nintendo Switch console has a 6.2-inch LCD multi-touch capacitive touch screen with a resolution of 1280x720p
  • The handheld-only Nintendo Switch Lite has a 5.5-inch LCD multi-touch capacitive touch screen with a resolution of 1280x720p

According to Nintendo Life, the OLED display offers illumination on a per-pixel basis, meaning each pixel on the screen can be illuminated individually. Conversely, LCD screens rely on illumination from larger backlights which can result in light spill and dark areas of the screen that appear ‘grey’ rather than black.

Although this new model has the same battery capacity at 4310 mAh, the OLED display can offer longer battery life compared to LCD depending on the usage. Another new feature that I love on this new model is the new adjustable stand. This new stand is more stable and easy to adjust compared to the OG model.

Joy-Con

I saw people complaining on the Joy-Con which has this “drifting” problem as their console gets older. This issue has been around for years among Nintendo users. From what I read, Nintendo has changed their policies and offered to repair the problematic Joy-Con controllers for free. 

Unfortunately, Nintendo has confirmed that this new model will still use the same Joy-Con model as Switch OG. For sure this is not something that people are expecting with the new model.

Dock Station

Another new feature that we will be expecting on this new Switch is the new dock that has been redesigned with a built-in LAN port, compared to the Switch OG, where the users need to buy a LAN adapter separately. Like the Joy-Con, the dock will also be compatible with the older version of Switch. This new dock system will be available for purchase on Nintendo’s official website.

Overall, this new model would be worth buying for those who are just starting to explore the Nintendo system. For people that already have their Switch OG, I personally think that it is not worth an upgrade. The OLED display will surely provide a more vibrant graphic in handheld mode but when the Switch is connected to the TV (which most of the users did all the time), the display doesn’t matter anymore. It will always depends on your needs. For me personally, I am happy enough with my Switch Lite as I need a light and mobile console that I can use while travelling.

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Technology

Is It Still Worth Buying a PS4 in 2021?

When Sony released the new generation of gaming console PS5 at end of last year, the demand was so huge not only among the hardcore gamers but from the “newbies” in gaming. To get a hold on the new console is a painful process as Sony only allocates a certain number of units for each and every country in their pre-order. 

There are several factors that contribute to this problem; the global shortage of chips due to Covid-19, high demand from the people in this pandemic situation and of course political reasons when the previous U.S president Donald Trump declared a trade war with China. 

So the million dollar question is when will the PS5 be fully ready as its predecessor? Unfortunately there is no certain timeline to this question and even Sony’s chief financial officer, Hiroki Totoki said that their supply wouldn’t be able to catch up with the demand for the next 5 years!

So we have three choices; to compete in the frustrating pre-order which you will definitely lose to the Lazada bot or to buy the console through the scalper with higher price or just stick to the PS4. I personally chose the latter, to stick with my 1st gen PS4. 

Some people that I know are asking me if it is still worth buying the PS4 in 2021 and some are asking if now is the right time to sell their PS4 before its value depreciates and upgrade to PS5.  My short answer is yes, PS4 is still relevant today due to several reasons:

Game Library

The main reason why people are buying the game console is of course to play the game, although we can also stream Netflix with the PS4. The game library for PS4 is huge with thousands of games since it was released back in 2013 until today. 

I agree that at some point the new upcoming game will no longer be available on the PS4 platform due to the outdated hardware and technology capabilities. But in the meantime, the AAA game from Sony’s first party is still available on this platform such as the Spiderman Miles Morales, God of War Ragnarok and Horizon Forbidden West. 

Gaming Community

When we compare the gaming community on PS4 vs PS5, for sure the PS4 will have a bigger community as it was released for quite some time now. This community is important for people who love online gaming and trading console’s equipment and games. I myself did some trading on PS4 games before with other gamers and got a lot of good games and other accessories with a cheap bargain price. Over the time, the new release game is getting more and more expensive (maybe due to the new technology used to make the game I guess) and it is always good to interact with the community to get the best deal and save money unless you are the Henry Golding in Crazy Rich Asian.

Durability

In my gaming friend list on PS4, I am kind of rare because I still use the 1st fat version of PS4. The others are using the slim and pro version. So far, my 1st gen console did not have any problem and damage (I hope I don’t jinx this) and I am truly happy with the console performance and durability. 

To think that the new complex games such as the Ghost of Tsushima or Assassin’s Creed Valhalla are still playable smoothly without any issue on my console with 6 year old hardwares is really fascinating and worth it. 

Market in Malaysia

Some people might say what is the point of buying a console that will be obsolete in 1 or 2 years. Yes, as I said before, at some point we need to upgrade the console to cope with more advanced games. But don’t worry because we have a good market in gaming consoles in Malaysia. I still remember that I sold my PS3 back in 2014 for RM 600. So you can always sell the console on Mudah or Carousell to gain a good amount of money to the right buyer. One thing you need to understand is not all people out there could afford the newest console on the market. The demand will always there and you can sell your console to gain funds for your next upgrade.

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Blog

Kerana Sebungkus Pampers

Sejak kami berpindah ke Kulim, kami sekeluarga mempunya ruang masa yang sangat terhad untuk dihabiskan bersama kerana saya dan isteri mempunyai waktu bekerja yang berbeza. Disebabkan itu, kami mengambil keputusan untuk mendapatkan khidmat Kak Erni untuk membersihkan rumah setiap 2 minggu.

Kak Erni merupakan seorang wanita Indonesia di pertengahan umur 40-an. Dia telah berkahwin dan menetap lama di Malaysia. Sepatutnya Kak Erni sudah lama pulang ke kampung halaman di Indonesia, namun semuanya terhalang oleh pandemik Covid-19. 

Pada hari Jumaat lepas, Kak Erni datang ke rumah kami untuk membersihkan rumah seperti biasa. Isteri saya tiba-tiba teringat akan baki pampers milik Yasmin yang sudah tidak digunakan. Sebenarnya sebelum pulang ke Sarawak pada Februari lepas, Yasmin dah pun berjaya untuk tidak pakai pampers secara total.

Baki pampers yang kami beli dulu ada banyak lagi; satu pek yang belum dibuka dan satu lagi yang masih berbaki separuh.    

“Apa kata kita tanya Kak Erni. Rasanya anak dia ada anak yang pakai pampers”

Ujar isteri saya sambil meluru masuk ke bilik Yasmin sebelum meluru ke tingkat bawah bersama pek pampers tersebut.

Saya yang berada di tingkat atas hanya mendengar perbualan antara isteri saya dan Kak Erni. Tiba-tiba saya terdengar Kak Erni berkata;

“Alhamdulillah, ringan sikit lepas ni. Tinggal beli susu je lagi.”

Saya hanya diam dan mendengar perbualan lanjut isteri saya dan Kak Erni. Selang beberapa ketika kemudian, isteri saya kembali ke tingkat atas dan berkata;

“Memang betul lah kata orang, dalam rezeki kita ada jugak rezeki orang lain.”

Ya, memang betul. 

Dalam apa yang kita kecapi hari ini, baik dari segi wang ringgit, kerjaya yang bagus, perniagaan yang maju, sebenarnya bukan datang dari usaha dan kudrat kita 100%. Mungkin tanpa berkat doa ibu dan bapa kita, tanpa sokongan rakan-rakan yang mengambil berat pasal kita, tanpa rakan sejawatan yang sanggup berkongsi ilmu, kita tidak akan capai apa yang kita ada pada hari ini. 

Maka orang yang bodoh adalah orang yang sombong dengan apa yang mereka ada tanpa mereka sedar itu semua takkan wujud tanpa orang sekelilingnya dan hanyalah sementara. 

Semoga Tuhan tidak menguji kami sekeluarga dengan sifat takabbur dan sombong.

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