By Ahmad Kamil Tahir
REMBAU, Dec 31 (Bernama) -- Wan Taufiq Ali Osman is very much a Malay but confesses that he knows nothing about life in a kampung (village).
The 16-year-old was born and bred in London, to Malay parents Wan Ahmad Hulaimi of Terengganu and Zaharah Othman of Kedah, both of whom have been working in the United Kingdom over the last 30 years.
Understanding the eagerness in him to learn more about Malay culture, Wan Taufiq Ali Osman's parents did not hesitate to allow him to participate in the Malay World Youth Exchange Programme in Negeri Sembilan. "I really wanted to taste life in a kampung and look forward to participating in various kampung activities and learn about the life of Malay kampung folks from my foster parents," he told Bernama after the launch of the programme by Negeri Sembilan Youth Council (NSYC) President Khairil Jamal at Dataran Rembau, here.
Clad in Baju Melayu and wearing a songkokb (Malay traditional costume), he said that though there are many Malays in the United Kingdom, there were not many cultural activities except during Hari Raya or weddings. Wan Taufiq Ali Osman said that though they lived far away from their ancestral land, his parents always reminded him of their roots in Malaysia.
The family has visited relatives in Malaysia several times but this is the first time that he has come alone and said that he felt great to be here.
Along with Wan Taufiq Ali Osman are two other Malays, Lazim Yademe, 23, of the Cocos Islands, and Hassan Zainuddin, 22, of Saudi Arabia.
The trio are in a group of 20 people from the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, Australia and Malaysia participating in the 10-day programme jointly organised by the NSYC and the Malaysian Islamic Youth Movement (Abim).
Besides taking part in cultural activities, the participants will stay with foster parents in Rembau and Jasin under a homestay programme. Lazim, who is fluent in the Malay language, said the programme would enable him to learn much more about Malay culture which he said had eroded in his place of origin.
He said that though his people back home could speak Malay they did not practise the customs and traditions as they were much influenced by western culture. "Therefore, an opportunity like this programme enables me to learn more about Malay customs and traditions, and I will convey what I have learnt to my people when I return," said Lazim, who is a ninth generation descendant of ancestors from Java in Indonesia. He said the Malays in this country are fortunate that they are able to safeguard their culture, religion and customs for generations in the face of strong western influence.
Meanwhile, Hassan said that despite being a Malay, he is more an Arab due to the fact that he understands and practises Arabic culture more. "I was born and raised in Saudi Arabia. Both my parents are from Kedah and they came to Saudi Arabia many years ago when my father pursued his studies in Islamic knowledge. That was the reason I am more comfortable in Arabic culture although I am a Malay," he said.
Hassan said that staying with foster parents under the programme would enable him to have a taste of Malay culture, like wearing baju Melayu and songkok as well as eating Malay food.
The participants had called on the Undang Luak Rembau Datuk Muhamad Sharip Othman at Balai Undang Luak Rembau here and were entertained to a silat (Malay martial arts) performance.
Daripada Zaharah Othman
RAMAI keluarga Melayu yang dilahir dan dibesarkan di United Kingdom sanggup menghantar anak mereka pulang ke Malaysia untuk lebih mengenali budaya dan agama selain bermesra dengan keluarga.
Selalunya mereka mengambil peluang cuti sekolah yang panjang untuk berbuat demikian. Bagaimanapun tidak semua boleh berbuat demikian dan memadailah dengan belajar budaya dan agama di rumah sendiri, dibimbing ibu bapa dan masyarakat sekeliling.
Sejak beberapa tahun kebelakangan ini, Pertubuhan Masyarakat Melayu UK mengambil inisiatif membawa keluarga Melayu yang bermastautin di sini meluangkan masa bersama sepanjang hujung minggu panjang pada Mei untuk mengenali satu sama lain menerusi pelbagai aktiviti, seperti ceramah, kelas agama, solat berjemaah dan kegiatan lain seperti memanah, mencari harta karun dan lain-lain.
Pada hujung minggu ini, lebih 100 keluarga berkumpul di Kibblestone Scout Camp di Staffordshire, sebuah kawasan besar di tengah England. Ini tahun keempat persatuan itu mengadakan perhimpunan keluarga yang bukan saja membawa keluarga Melayu Malaysia, tetapi juga Melayu Sri Lanka dan Afrika Selatan. Ramai juga yang berkahwin dengan orang tempatan membawa suami atau isteri dan anak-anak masing-masing.
Tiga hari setahun mungkin bukan tempoh yang lama tetapi, masa yang dikongsi bersama ini, tidak kira melalui aktiviti jasmani, atau bertukar pendapat, akan tetap meninggalkan kesan.
Aktiviti sebegini akan disusuli pula dengan penubuhan unit keluarga, perayaan Aidilfitri dan Aidiladha bersama dan yang terakhir, projek pertukaran belia.
Projek ini akan diusahakan bersama dengan Kumpulan Pengkaji Tamadun Dunia dengan Persatuan Melayu UK, yang diketuai usahawan Melayu, Hamidi Abdul Rahman yang sudah lama bermastautin di UK.
Tiga puluh anak muda Melayu dari UK akan pulang ke Malaysia dan tinggal bersama keluarga angkat di Negeri Sembilan, hujung tahun ini selama 10 hari.
Selepas itu, keluarga Melayu di UK pula akan menjadi tuan rumah kepada 30 anak muda dari Malaysia. Pertukaran seperti ini amat bernilai kepada belia berkenaan.
Setiausaha Kewangan persatuan, Azam Ashari berkata, perhimpunan seperti itu sangat bermanfaat kerana dapat merapatkan masyarakat Melayu di UK.
"Di sini yang tua bertemu yang muda. Mereka akan menceritakan pengalaman masing-masing.
"Kanak-kanak membuat persembahan pentas atau nasyid manakala mereka yang lebih tua menceritakan pengalaman datang dan bekerja di negara ini tiga puluh atau empat puluh tahun dulu,” katanya.
Perhimpunan keluarga tahun ini pasti mengulangi kejayaan tahun lalu dengan sambutan meriah dari semua pihak. Kegiatan persatuan Melayu UK boleh didapati di lama web www.melayu.org.uk
Sumber: Berita Minggu 28 Mei 2006
Oleh: JUFITRI JOHA
MELAYU diaspora sudah berkembang ke seluruh dunia. Selain terdapat di nusantara, komuniti Melayu juga tinggal di beberapa buah negara seperti di Sri Lanka, Surinam, Belanda, Afrika Selatan dan tidak ketinggalan di United Kingdom (UK). Walaupun diaspora Melayu tidaklah sehebat diaspora India dan Cina, tetapi taburan komuniti Melayu di seluruh dunia sudah cukup menggambarkan keunikan dan keistimewaannya yang tersendiri.
Persatuan yang begitu sinonim dengan Melayu di UK ialah Persatuan Masyarakat Melayu UK atau singkatannya Melayu UK. Ia ditubuhkan bagi menyediakan satu platform khusus untuk masyarakat Melayu di UK berinteraksi sesama mereka kerana masyarakat Melayu di UK tinggal bertaburan dan tidak berkumpul setempat.
Melayu UK menjadi medan perjumpaan terbaik untuk mereka merapatkan ukhuwah, beraktiviti dan bertukar-tukar pandangan. Selain itu, Melayu UK merupakan satu wadah untuk mereka terus berusaha mengekalkan identiti dan jati diri sebagai masyarakat Melayu Islam berikutan kekhuatiran terhadap sosialisasi anak-anak yang dilahirkan dan dibesarkan dalam suasana dan budaya Inggeris yang akan mengikis sedikit demi sedikit identiti keislaman dan budaya Melayu mereka.
The Chairman of Grup Pengkaji Tamadun Dunia (GPTD), Sdr. Jufitri Joha, handed 20 sets of Iqra' Cara Cepat Belajar Membaca Al-Quran to Melayu UK on the 3rd January 2006.
GPTD is the Malay acronym of Grup Pengkaji Tamadun Dunia (World Civilization - Research Group) formed by Global Peace Mission (GPM) to train young volunteers, mainly university students, as social and relief workers, as well as being researchers of world civilizations. In preparation for the field work, these young volunteers are equipped with basic volunteer skills and training. GPTD has 5 main project namely Spain-Latin America, France-Africa, China, Cocos Island and Turkey-Central Asia.
So far, GPTD volunteers has been sent by GPM to: Pakistan and Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Christmas Island, Australia, Cocos (Keeling) Island, Australia, Indonesia, Philippines, Laos, Thailand, and Saudi Arabia.
Three GPTD members went to Andalusia (Spain) on a study mission in December 2005 before joining the MISG-ABIM Perhimpunan Musim Sejuk in Glasgow. Their added interest in the Malay community around the globe has prompted them to meet the president of Melayu UK. Having surfed our website in the past and after knowing of our effort to set up Unit Keluarga, they have kindly donated 20 sets of Iqra'. The books will be distributed to Melayu UK members wishing to set up Unit Keluarga at their localities.
For more information on GPTD, please visit their weblog http://gptd.blogspot.com/
Before our association was formed about four years ago, we knew that there were many Malays who had decided to make the United Kingdom their home. Like others, we did not know how many resident Malays in the UK there were and we had the difficulty of contacting fellow resident Malays. Even up till now, the exact number is still not known but we probably have the best knowledge of resident Malays in the UK compared to other organisations.
Through Melayu UK, many have discovered that they are not alone in this country. From just a handful of people, we have grown at a very encouraging rate and we now have members throughout the UK. We are still consistently getting new members every month. Melayu UK has enabled us to share our joy and grief. What brings us together is what other organisations cannot provide. We have created a community with long term vision, not an ad-hoc temporary grouping of individuals that come and go ever so frequently. However, our community has primarily been a virtual community linked by the internet, despite some of our members being able to meet occasionally e.g. at our Hari Raya Party and Perhimpunan Keluarga events.
Our ultimate aim does not and should not end there. While the internet has played an important role in bringing us together, it has also some weaknesses. Emails and chatting on the internet do not have the same impact as face-to-face meetings. Emoticons is no substitute for body language. We all know this. The fact that we are still willing to travel miles away to meet someone proves the case.
While not denying the importance of the internet and our continuing reliance on it, we must not totally and solely rely on it. Our next stage is the creation of a physical and meaningful community from the virtual community that we have created. In order to bring more benefits to our community, we must address the needs of all the people who make up our community. In other words, we have to address the needs of all generations i.e. from children to the elderly, male and female.
We are proud that our activities have been very popular and have a very high retention rate. Those who have attended our activities not only wanted to attend other activities, but many have also volunteered in organising subsequent activities. The support from the children has been overwhelming too. This is a significant achievement as our children will be the ones who will continue what we have done. An organisation that do not have the support of the young will eventually fail.
In order to create a meaningful and lasting physical community, we have to think like parents, even if at present we do not have any children or are still unmarried. Our planning should be long term, addressing the needs of not only the adults, but also the needs of our ever growing children and youth population.
There may come a time when our children will have an inquisitive mind to find out more about their roots and heritage e.g. being a Malay. Our children may also start to question their identity as a Muslim. They will need support from their parents when it comes to matters pertaining to being a Muslim. It would be best if parents can provide the answers to their children. This is especially important when our members live quite a distance from any Malay or Muslim community.
In order to answer basic questions on Islam from our children, it is very important for us to equip ourselves with at least the obligatory knowledge on Islam. Failure to provide a satisfactory answer to our children will force them to look elsewhere for answers. It is acceptable and recommended if they rely on knowledgeable Muslim scholars who preach moderation. However our community can be damaged if they turn to those who preach falsehood or extremism.
We are fortunate that we have a very good combination of members from different backgrounds, some have migrated from the Malay World, some have inter-married with the locals and some are born and bred here. This combination brings in a wealth of many useful knowledge and experience. With these values, we have the potential of creating new standards of excellence and be a model community in the UK.
As our number is now quite large, it is possible for us to embark on the next stage i.e. the creation of the physical community. We would like members to start creating small groups or Unit Keluarga at their locality/region and meet at least once a month. To get maximum benefit from the meeting, we recommend that members should also include activities like learning to read the Quran, learning the mandatory knowledge of Islam and other family projects or activities that are of interest to those in the group. The meeting or Perjumpaan Keluarga should not be treated as a teacher-student class for the sole purpose of learning, but rather as a family-centric activity - a gathering of husbands and wives, sons and daughters. This will strengthen the bond of brotherhood/sisterhood, create a caring sharing community and at the same time benefit from the knowledge and experience of our fellow members. Those who know should support those who do not know, and those who do not know should not be ashamed of learning from those who know. The knowledge gained will not only be beneficial to us but also to our children.
We hope that many Unit Keluarga will be formed. This will accelerate the growth of the nationwide physical Malay community. It is impossible to see the results overnight. This is a long term community project and we have to start from somewhere. The sooner we start, the quicker we will reap the benefit.
Last but not least, I wish our members a Happy New Year. Thank you for your support and cooperation. May this year be better than last year.
Hamidi Abdul Rahman
1 January 2006
Melayu UK hosted a dinner for the Malaysian Nashid Group, Raihan, on Monday 14 November 2005. Raihan had been touring the UK as part of the Celebrate Eid concerts. Because of the limited number of seats at the function room of Jati Malay-Thai Restaurant in Manchester, tickets for the dinner were sold out within 1 hour of announcement. However, Raihan fans who were not able to dine in the function room were allowed to occupy the main area of the restaurant and had the opportunity to meet Raihan, take photos with them and get their autographs.
The dinner was a splendid family event and the scheduled 2 hours dinner proved too short for everybody and went beyond 3 hours. Diners also had the opportunities to make new friends and get bonus entertainment when Raihan sang a nashid.
For those who were unable to meet Raihan, do not despair. Raihan will be in the UK again, 3 times within the next year Insha'Allah. They will also endeavour to reserve a day for Melayu UK on each visit.
We are glad that Melayu UK has been able to deliver quality events and activities to our members. In the words of one of the diners, "You can't get this anywhere else".
We have received several requests lately from our members so that Melayu UK can organise some classes to help our members (adults and children) to learn how to read the Quran and also to learn more about Islam, especially Obligatory Knowledge or Fardhu 'Ain. There were also other suggestions on how to enhance the "persaudaraan" between members. We acknowledge that these are very good ideas and we have done a bit of homework.
Pak Majid and Rosnah (Milton Keynes) have offered to help those in the East Midlands region and Ustaz Mohd Nor and Ustazah Norhayati (from Birmingham, they were present at our recent Hari Raya Party) have offered to help our members in the West Midlands region. We are planning to have another class in North West England region (Cheshire / Wirral) and Insha'Allah will announce it shortly.
Since the classes involves families getting together at their preferred places, we can extend the meeting/get-together to include other activities that are of interest to those who attend. For this reason, we will name the meetings as "Perjumpaan Keluarga" and each grouping will be known as "Unit Keluarga" e.g. Unit Keluarga Melayu UK West Midlands.
To reduce the burden on the host, we will adopt the pot-luck method for supplying food i.e. everybody brings some food to the meeting. Meetings will be held at least once a month and each Unit Keluarga can independently decide to have more frequent meetings if they want to. Members can also join more than 1 Unit Keluarga if they wish.
In brief, the main activities during each Perjumpaan Keluarga will be:
1. Learning how to read the Qur'an (from scratch). We will order some books from Malaysia that will be used in learning how to read the Quran.
2. Learning Obligatory Knowledge (Fardhu Ain) - from scratch. We will be working with Ustaz Mohd Nor / Ustazah Norhayati to provide a syllabus for this.
3. Family projects (free activity depending on interest of participating families)
Adults and children (if available) will be taught separately.
We are happy to accommodate other members who are interested in joining the Unit Keluarga, or forming new Unit Keluarga. If you want to send private emails, please send it to any of our representatives.
The president attended the Jamuan Hari Raya organised by Persatuan Kebajikan Islam Asia Tenggara. The association is one of the oldest Malay organisations in the UK. The London-based organisation which was formed by those who arrived in the 1950's and 1960's, has a very close relationship with Melayu UK for many years.
The synergy with Melayu UK will further increase the participation of their children in welfare activities of the Malay community in London as well as in UK.