Abdullah Waggie

Finally met with  Abdullah Waggie, ,born from the last generation of Malay descendants who was exiled from Indonesia to curb from spreading nationalism by the Dutch East India Company in 1654. As the result, Islam spreads in Capetown and form their own Malay community. He runs his own Islamic School Ieglaasi Nieyah Primary School in Capetown South Africa.

He is on his own personal tour to visit Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore which was one of the Malay Archipelagoes (before we were separated by countries) to trace his Malay heritage by visiting Malay community he is in touch with and also other stakeholders such as academic institution, foundation etc. This visit is to enable him to find ways in reviving and preserving Malay heritage back in Capetown, he is also writing a book on his journey

One of his upcoming plan is to install a water system that can recycle the water from the Wudhu’ in nearby mosque and also in his school that can help to grow plants around the school as well.

Abdullah Waggie is also one of the founder of a Free Market ( https://www.facebook.com/freemarketsa @ http://freemarket.co.za/about/ ) that attracted 550 traders to trade using gold and silver coin (Dinar and Dirham) every Sunday since 2013. No tax or rent are charged on the traders, and no booking are required to set up their stall, and the customers and traders can trade freely (even barter) as long as the buyer & seller agrees on the exchange.

A very good old friend I have the privileged to know, insyAllah, will visit you in Capetown soon

some of the key points to remember after talking with Abdullah Waggie yesterday
  • Yaqeen, is having full trust and faith on Allah swt . People nowadays are afraid of not getting a job, or whatever they desire as if the one who gives is the people when instead it is Allah swt who provides what we need. So make Dua, do not abandon our ‘weapon’.
  • Rizq @ rezeki is from what we eat, so trust that Allah swt will not let you hungry, leave the house like the bird who goes out of their nest every morning and came back full.
  • Success in the dunya is when we leave this world without anyone hating you, that is “Rabbana Aatina Fiddunya hasanah”
  • Pay your debt because when we owe anyone in this world, they will claim your ‘debt’ from your good deed in the akhirah.
  • Every illness have its cure, but changing our behaviour is the best way to cure our sickness. So take care of what we eat, eg: eating two apples a day will help to reduce the cravings from smoking, raisins helps to strengthen our memory.
  • Overcoming grief can also be done from food, back during the early Malays residing in capetown, Malays used to bring food to the family during funerals, commonly found food is based on nuts. Because when a family is grieving, they may not be able to eat properly so give them food so they can be better.
  • Weddings used to be lively and happy, instead it is now replaced with religious recital that sometimes, the food gets cold by the time the food arrives. Instead of the beginning, end the wedding with Doa. In Capetown, the malays bride and groom father will send off their daughter at the end of the day with advice and doa for the daughter/son who got married before leaving them alone
  • After the wedding, it is a custom that the bride does not cook or do any work for at least 7 days. Instead, the family members will take over to clean up the wedding and the house.
  • When we leave for Hajj, it is recommended for us to ‘Never Look Back’, as if we are going to die. Focus on our Hajj and avoid from unnecessary dunya (contacting family,taking photos/selfies in Makkah etc). Instead, focus on our ibadah between us and Allah swt.
  • When return from Hajj, spend at least 40 days at home and do not leave the house to focus on our ibadah. The Doa of those who came back from Hajj, are considered mustajab, so make dua, instead of inviting ‘ustaz’ to come and make dua for you. Make dua for people around you.
  • A donator came to him and would like to feed the poor, he manage to get 150 poor people to eat. On that day, he invites the donator to come forward and ask everyone to make dua for him, and the donator ask that everyone makes dua so that he can feed more poor people. Ever since, the number of poor people they have managed to give food have multiplied by thousands.
  • The poor sometimes do not want food, sometimes they just want someone to listen to. However he recall a neighbourhood in Dubai full of rich people who opens their door to anyone and serve good food for them. The rich people there even sat among them and eats with them together, and not eat separate food (eg better food from the ones they give to the poor). Not many people would invite the poor and eats with them in their house nowadays, we sometimes just push the poor people away. So how can we curb poverty if we treat the poor differently?
  • We are too quick to blame others on any social problems, if we want to curb the problems, we must look at our own home and look at the root of the problem. Eg. In a school he went, one of the students answered a very provocative answer to the teacher that they are a “Satan worshiper”. Instead of confronting the students, the parents went and scold the school administration for their ‘lackness’. But, nobody tries to help the student and find out why that student answered like that and what can they help?
  • Service, is not what we pay the goverment to do the job for us, instead we need to take our own responsibilities in the community we live in. Do not blame the government is your front door is not cleaned out, back in his childhood days, every young boys must sweep their front house. If the parents does not teach such manner from young, then, no one should be blamed but ourself.
  • In Capetown, the Malays will put a heavy stone infront of their house, as a reminder that Death is at their door step because the stone is actually to be used during funeral to help bring down the stomach when the Jenazah (the passed away person) to clean the person before they are buried.
  • In the Quran, there are a lot of verse mentioning about “The Sky” “The Sea” ….along with “for people with intellect/people who reflects”. There is a verse for everyone, especially those who have intellect. Therefore, academicians especially must go back to the Quran and make use of the knowledge hidden inside the Quran for the betterment of the people.
  • Keramat does not necessarily refers to the ‘alims & ulama’s, instead, it is refered to those who gives benefits to the people around him. Therefore whatever knowledge and skill you have, make sure it benefits the people around you.
  • Do not impose Islam to people especially those who just became a muslim, even ourselves took years to understand Islam so we cannot expect people to be able to understand Islam in one day or in a week.
  • One television program showed how a 3 year old can memorize 15 juz at a young age, turn out the mother memorized 15 juz while she was pregnant. This was similar to a western mother who used to listen to classical music like Mozart, Beethoven when she was pregnant, but when she gave birth to her child, she stops listening to it. One day, her child cries all night, and she puts on the classical music, and the baby stopped crying. So whatever we hear or do during pregnancy must be careful of what goes into the baby.
  • Among all surah he holds close to is Surah Al Fatiha, it means to keeps us on a straight path and having full faith to Allah swt. Therefore, always make dua and go back to the Quran and Sunnah.

Is Georgetown losing its UNESCO World Heritage status?

Its a known fact that Georgetown has been gazetted as the UNESCO World Heritage status by the United Nation of Education Scientific Organization (UNESCO) since 7th July 2008. However, not many knows that more and more local Georgetown are now being threatened and forced to leave their home because they can no longer pay the increasing high rent. A backpacker owner in Georgetown I came across with told that they had to pay the rent for RM10,000 a month.

According to the President of Penang Heritage Trust, Khoo Salma Nasution, since Georgetown obtained the World Heritage status, the tourism in Georgetown are increasing. However the number of local Georgetown who lived there since generations before has been declining due to the increasing rent.

The number of local Georgetown are expected to decline to below 10,000 people, whereby the number of local Georgetown has reduce from 10,159 people in 2009 to 9245 people in 2013. However, two out of three criteria by UNESCO for Georgetown to be able to obtain the World Heritage status is because of it Cultural and tradition in Georgetown  which is the ‘Outstanding Universal Value’ (OUV)   (Source: malaymailonline).

In her book title “The Sustainable Penang Initiative: Creating State society Partnership For Sustainable Development”, , the abolishment of Rent Control Act 1966 which previously helped the local Georgetown to rent at a cheap price especially for those who have low income are now forcing the small business owner to move out due to the increasing rent by the owner of the building.

For example,renter at 6 shoplot at Cheapside Lane nearby Chulia Street was forced to move out from their premise in December 2015 located nearby the UNESCO core zone.

A hardware shop owner, Eng Hooi, 50 years old told that his family has been renting in that area since his father start their business 100 years ago. He expressed his dissatisfaction because there  seem to have no effort in protecting the heritage, instead, priority was given to the development and tourism in Penang only.(Source: Malaysia Insider) .

Khoo Salma expressed that there should be an effort towards developing the heritage area in a sustainable way and controlled to protect the intangible heritage that can protect the people in Penang and the city itself. When the local Georgetown are forced to move out from the buildings, it also means that the heritage in Georgetown are also at stake because only the locals who grew up in Georgetown who have the knowledge, culturally and traditionally on the heritage of the place . The heritage in Georgetown is not just mere architecture of the building but also the local Georgetown who is the ‘living heritage’ of the town itself.

If such values loses with the disappearing of local Georgetown that inherits the culture and tradition of Georgetown due to the uncontrolled development, it is possible for Georgetown to lose its World Heritage status since they do not conserve the ‘Outstanding Value’ which is the Cultural and Tradition in Georgetown like what happened to other World Heritage site such as the Arabian Oryx Sanctuary in Oman and  Drseden Elbe Valley in Germany.

In Oman, the  Arabian Oryx Sanctuary are a protected conservation area for Arabian Oryx that is now an endangered species. It is also a sanctuary for animals like  ‘Arabian Wolves, Nubian Ibex, Mountain Gazelle,  Honey Badgers and wild cat species, Caracal.

In 2007, the  Arabian Oryx Sanctuary became the first World Heritage site to be withdrawn its status as heritage after oild was found, effecting almost 90% of the conservation area. The number of Arabian Oryx in that area has decreased from 450 species to 65 specoies that year.

In 2009, due to the building of  Waldschlösschen bridge that was considered to divide the Drseden Elbe Valley in Germany that is a conservation area for 650 bat species  Lesser Horseshoe has made UNESCO to withdraw the World Heritage status given and funding to conserve the heritage area in 2004.

This year, another area nearby the World Heritage site whereby the 200 year old Buddhist Temple located in Pulau Tikus are under threat which is the Siamese Village, Kampung Siam. According to the villagers, they have been living in the village for 6 generation and was given a letter to move out within 30 days on 23 April 2014 . However, according to the original document in 1845 when the East India Company on behalf of Queen Elizabeth, has written a will that the area are designated for the Burmese and Siamese community living in that area.

The ownership of the land are supposed to belong to the community and any form of selling and transferring ownership of the land cannot be done and only be used for the benefits of the Burmese and Siamese community forever. Therefore the villagers are surprised on how the land was sold when the ownership of the land are supposed to belong to the Burmese and Siamese community  there (Source: Anil netto).

After exhausting all option to defend their village, the Kampung Siam villagers had to give in after their plea was denied by the High Court last  23 February.

Kampung Siam is where  Noo Wan @ Wan Dee Aaroonratana, 91 years old learn the Siamese traditional dance which is the  Menora. ( Source: malaymail). This dance originated from Thailand, Noo Wan is the son of a famous Menora dancer who came to Penang during the British era. His father,  Pa’wan Dee and his dance troupe was invited to dance and do their rituals at the Buddhist temple. The Menora dance are a dance inherited since thousands of years ago and not just a dance but a religious ritual. Noo Wan learn to dance Menora from his father since he was 14 years old. He will memorize hundreds of stories because the dance are performed through story telling.Each dance has its own meaning and moral value through spiritual stories. In Penang, the dance sometimes performed in Bahasa Malaysia. Unfortunately, the dance has slowly been forgotten unlike in Thailand. Noo Wan made his last performance in 2002 when he was 80 years old at the  Wat Chaiya Mangkalaram beforeretiring ( Source: malaymail).

Other than Noo Wan, Kampung Siam is also a close to Noor Jahan Shamshudeen heart because it is the place where her ancestor started their business making Roti Canai which is one of the favourite food in Pulau Tikus. This is the village wherebye a lot of early settlers from Siam migrated to Penang. Some of them resides here and got married to the locals here. (Source: malaymail )

According to Pulau Tikus assemblymen, Yap Soo Huey, he have tried to talk to the owner of the land, which is Five Star Heritage Sdn Bhd to allow the villagers of Kampung Siams to continue their daily life and business there. However, the company stands firm with their decision to build a five story budget hotel with 97 room and 3 shop lot.  September last year, Yap also state that he wants to ask the Heritage Department to gazette the area as heritage site and writes to the Penang Municipal to review the status of the heritage buildings and shoplots in Kampung Siam along Jalan Burmah and Jalan Cantontment (Source::malaymail ). However, all efforts to conserve the heritage, culture and history of Kampung Siam fail to resist the development in Penang.

History only ‘lives’ for as long as there is people to inherit and sustain their heritage. If the the local people who is also the living heritage in that area moves out or dies away, what is left is just empty monuments. What is worrying is that one day, the heritage and history of Penang will only exist in museums, flyers and empty building without any living heritage that can tell the history of Penang that exist even before the arrival of Francis Light to Penang.  Pulau Pinang , previously knows as ‘Tanjung’ has been lived by multiracial from all over the region such as Acheh, Siam, Chinese Peranakan, Eurasians, and India muslim and the local Penang people even before 17th and 18th century.

Therefore the heritage of Pulau Pinang itself, should not be limited to Georgetown only but also to other area where the early settlers in Pulau Pinang should be protected, conserved and gazetted as heritage site by the authority.

The history and heritage in Penang should not just be an attraction for the tourist but an asset for the local government to conserve the living heritage around the heritage site  so that the tourist can also learn and know more on the history, culture and heritage in Penang even before Georgetown existed.

If such heritage site are being destroyed and developed only to be turned as boutique hostel and luxurious building without even being documented or conserved its culture and tradition, it will be a great loss to the country to lose such rich heritage site when the rest of the world especially developed countries has been protecting and conserving their heritage and history through a sustainable development effort.

Mungkinkah Georgetown kehilangan status sebagai ‘Tapak Warisan Dunia’ dari UNESCO?

Umum mengetahui bahawa Georgetown telah digazetkan sebagai sebuah tapak warisan dunia oleh United Nation Educational Scientific Organization (UNESCO ) semenjak 7 Julai 2008. Namun, tidak ramai yang mengetahui bahawa semakin ramai penduduk asal yang tinggal di Georgetown kini semakin terancam dan terpaksa keluar dari Georgetown kerana tidak lagi mampu membayar sewa yang tinggi. Seorang penyewa backpackers di Georgetown menyatakan bahawa beliau menyewa satu bangunan tersebut dengan harga RM10,000 sebulan. Menurut ,Pengerusi Penang Heritage Trust, Khoo Salma Nasution, semenjak Georgetown mendapat status warisan tersebut, pelancongan di kawasan Georgetown semakin meningkat. Namun, ia juga menyebabkan penduduk asal Georgetown terpaksa keluar disebabkan sewa yang tinggi. Jumlah penduduk di Georgetown dijangka akan menurun ke bawah 10,000 orang , jumlah penduduk di Georgetown menurun dari 10,159 orang pada tahun 2009  kepada 9,245 orang pada tahun 2013. Sedangkan pada kriteria UNESCO, budaya dan tradisi Georgetown merupakan dua daripada tiga ‘Outstanding Universal Value’ (OUV) iaitu Nilai universal yang ketara yang membolehkan Georgetown mendapat status tapak warisan dunia  (sumber: malaymailonline).

Dalam bukunya bertajuk “The Sustainable Penang Initiative: Creating State society Partnership For Sustainable Development”, pemansuhan Akta Kawalan Sewa 1966 yang dahulunya membolehkan penduduk Georgetown menyewa pada kadar yang murah kepada penduduk yang berpendapatan rendah telah menyebabkan ramai peniaga kecil terpaksa berpindah keluar disebabkan kenaikan sewa yang tinggi oleh pemilik bangunan tersebut. Sebagai contoh, enam penyewa kedai di Lorong Cheapside berdekatan Lebuh Chulia telah diarahkan untuk keluar dari premis pada Disember, 2015 yang terletak pada zone utama UNESCO. Seorang peniaga perkakas, Eng Hooi, 50 tahun menyatakan bahawa keluarganya telah lama menyewa di kawasan itu dan berniaga semenjak 100 tahun yang lalu oleh datuknya. Beliau menyatakan rasa tidak puas hati kerana tiada usaha untuk melindungi warisan, sebaliknya mengutamakan pembangunan dan pelancongan semata-mata (Sumber: Malaysia Insider) .

Khoo Salma menyatakan bahawa perlunya suatu usaha membangunkan kawasan warisan secara lestari dan terkawal bagi melindungi ‘intangible heritage’ atau warisan tidak ketara yang dapat melindungi penduduk Pulau Pinang dan kepentingan bandar itu sendiri. Hal ini kerana, pengusiran keluar penyewa-penyewa di Georgetown  akan menyebabkan warisan tidak ketara turut terancam kerana merekalah yang mempunyai pengetahuan dan kemahiran seni dan budaya di kawasan Georgetown. Ini kerana, warisan Georgetown bukan sekadar seni bina bangunan sahaja tetapi penduduk asal Georgetown itu sendiri. Sekiranya nilai-nilai ini hilang bersama hilangnya penduduk asal Georgetown yang mewarisi budaya dan tradisi Georgetown dek kerana pembangunan yang tidak terkawal. Maka, tidak mustahil Georgtown itu sendiri akan kehilangan status tapak warisan dunia seperti yang berlaku kepada Arabian Oryx Sanctuary di Oman dan Drseden Elbe Valley di Jerman

Di Oman,  Arabian Oryx Sanctuary merupakan kawasan perlindungan Arabian Oryx yang terancam, ia juga menjadi tempat perlindungan haiwan seperti ‘Arabian Wolves, Nubian Ibex, Mountain Gazelle,  Honey Badgers dan kucing liar spesis Caracal. Pada tahun 2007, Arabian Oryx Sanctuary menjadi tapak warisan dunia pertama yang ditarik balik status warisan selepas minyak ditemui di kawasan tersebut yang menyebabkan hampir 90% kawasan perlindungan terjejas. Jumlah Arabian Oryx  di kawasan tersebut telah berkurangan dari 450 ekor kepada 65 ekor pada tahun itu.

Pada tahun 2009, disebabkan oleh pembinaan jambatan Waldschlösschen yang dianggap akan membahagi dua Lembah Drseden Elbe di German yang menjadi tempat perlindungan 650 ekor kelawar spesis Lesser Horseshoe. Ini  menyebabkan status warisan dunia yang diberikan kepada Germany pada tahun 2004 dan dana dari UNSECO ditarik balik.

Tahun ini,  satu lagi kawasan berdekatan tapak warisan terancam yang wujud semenjak 200 tahun di Pulau Tikus berdekatan Tokong Buddha.

Menurut penduduk disitu, penduduk Kampung Siam telah tinggal semenjak 6 generasi telah diberikan surat untuk berpindah keluar pada 23 April tahun 2014  dalam masa 30 hari. Menurut dokumen asal pada tahun 1845 semasa Syarikat Hindia Timur bagi pihak Queen Elizabeth mewasiatkan kawasan tanah disitu kepada komuniti Burma dan Siam yang tinggal di kawasan itu. Pemilikan tanah disitu sepatutnya dimiliki komuniti tersebut secara bersama dan sebarang penjualan dan pemindahan pemilikan tanah tidak boleh dibuat dan hanya digunakan untuk manafaat komuniti Burma dan Siam untuk selama-lamanya. Oleh itu penduduk disitu terkejut bagaimana tanah tersebut boleh dijual sedangkan pemilikan tanah itu seharusnya dimiliki oleh komuniti Burma dan Siam dikawasan tersebut (Sumber: Anil netto). Setelah berusaha sedaya upaya untuk mempertahankan kampung mereka, penduduk Kampung Siam akhirnya terpaksa akur setelah rayuan mereka di Mahkamah Tinggi 23 Februari yang lalu ditolak. Kampung Siam yang merupakan tempat dimana  Noo Wan @ Wan Dee Aaroonratana, 91 tahun, mempelajari tarian Menora. ( Sumber: malaymail)

Tarian ini merupakan tarian yang berasal dari Thailand, Noo Wan merupakan seorang anak penari Menora yang terkenal yang datang ke Pulau Pinang semasa zaman pemerintahan British. Bapanya, Pa’wan Dee dan kumpulan penari yang dibawa olehnya sering dijemput untuk menari dan manjalankan ritual di tokong Buddha. Tarian Menora merupakan tarian yang menjadi warisan semenjak beribu tahun dahulu yang bukan hanya satu upacara tarian tetapi juga menjadi upacara keagamaan. Noo Wan mepelajari tarian Menora dari bapanya semenjak berusia 14 tahun. Beliau akan menghafal beratus-ratus cerita kerana tarian tersebut dipersembahkan dalam bentuk penceritaan.  Setiap tarian membawa makna dan pengajaran yang mempunyai kisah berbentuk spiritual. Di Pulau Pinang, tarian ini adakalanya dipersembahkan dalam dialek Bahasa Malaysia. Sayangnya, tarian ini semakin dilupakan dan tidak lagi dipersembahkan sepertimana di Thailand. Noo Wan mengadakan persembahan terakhirnya pada tahun 2002  ketika berumur 80 tahun  di tokong Wat Chaiya Mangkalaram sebelum bersara (Sumber: malaymail).

Selain Noo Wan, Kampung Siam juga merupakan tempat dimana moyang Noor Jahan Shamshudeen  memulakan perniagaan membuat roti canai yang menjadi tumpuan umum oleh penduduk di Pulau Tikus. Kampung ini merupakan kampung penempatan terawal orang-orang dari Siam yang berhijrah ke Pulau Pinang. Mereka membawa bersama mereka budaya dan tradisi Siam, ada juga yang berkahwin dengan penduduk tempatan  (Sumber: malaymail )

Menurut wakil rakyat Pulau Tikus, Yap Soo Huey, beliau telah cuba berbincang dengan pemilik tanah disitu iaitu Five Star Heritage Sdn Bhd untuk membenarkan penduduk-penduduk Kampung Siam meneruskan kehidupan dan perniagaan mereka. Namun, pihak syarikat tetap dengan pendirian mereka untuk membina hotel budget lima tingkat yang mempunyai 97 bilik dan 3 buah kedai. Pada September tahun lalu, Yap menyatakan bahawa beliau ingin meminta Jabatan Warisan mengazetkan kawasan tersebut sebagai tapak warisan dan menulis kepada pihak Majlis Perbandaran Pulau Pinang untuk mengkaji semula  status warisan bangunan-bangunan dan rumah kedai di Kampung Siam sepanjang Jalan Burmah dan Jalan Cantontment (Sumber: malaymail ).  Namun nampaknya segala usaha yang dilakukan untuk melindungi warisan, budaya dan sejarah Kampung Siam gagal menghalang arus pembangunan yang berleluasa berlaku di Pulau Pinang.

Sejarah itu ‘hidup’ selagi ada pewaris yang ‘menghidupkan’ warisannya. Jika pewarisnya berpindah atau mati, yang tinggal hanyalah monumen-monumen tinggalan sejarah. Apa yang membimbangkan ialah jika suatu hari nanti warisan dan sejarah di Pulau Pinang hanya wujud di muzium, risalah dan bangunan kosong tanpa adanya pewaris yang dapat menceritakan sejarah di Pulau Pinang itu sendiri yang wujud sebelum kedatangan Francis Light ke Pulau Pinang lagi. Pulau Pinang atau dahulunya dikenali sebagai ‘Tanjung’ didiami oleh pelbagai kaum dari serata negeri seperti Aceh,  Siam, Cina Peranakan, Peranakan Eropah atau ‘Eurasian’  dan golongan India muslim serta penduduk tempatan seawal kurun ke17 dan 18 lagi.

Hakikatnya warisan di Pulau Pinang itu sendiri seharusnya tidak terhad kepada Georgetown sahaja tetapi di kawasan-kawasan lain yang menjadi penempatan awal penduduk di Pulau Pinang juga perlu digazetkan sebagai warisan dan dilindungi oleh pihak berkuasa. Hal ini kerana, sejarah dan warisan yang ada di Pulau Pinang bukan saja menjadi tarikan pelancong tetapi juga menjadi aset untuk pengkaji sejarah dan penduduk asal Pulau Pinang menjadi ‘living heritage’ atau warisan yang hidup buat pelancong-pelancong yang datang kesini untuk mempelajari dan mengetahui sejarah, budaya dan warisan yang terdapat di Pulau Pinang sebelum ini. Sekiranya kawasan-kawasan bersejarah ini dimusnahkan dan dibangunkan menjadi butik-butik hostel dan bangunan yang mewah tanpa sempat didokumentasikan untuk kajian generasi masa akan datang. Adalah menjadi satu kerugian kepada negara yang kaya dengan khazanah budaya dan warisannya yang tersendiri tanpa sebarang usaha konservasi. Sedangkan negara-negara maju sibuk melindungi sejarah dan warisan mereka melalui pembangunan secara lestari.