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.
The Melayu UK Hari Raya Party in Bicester, Oxfordshire on 6th November 2005 attracted more members than we anticipated. The excitement even started many days before the celebration, with volunteers from various localities busy planning and preparing for the event. The results: a really wonderful and cheerful Hari Raya party that gets better every year.
Thank you to all the volunteers, without them the party would not have been successful. The same goes to all those who came and celebrated Hari Raya.
A team of teenagers from Remaja MISG-ABIM entertained the crowd with 3 Malay nashids. Later on, all the little children had a go with a nashid performance after an impromptu practice of the nashid "Your Mother" by Rashid Bhika.
Professor Tomizawa Hisao, professor of Cultural Anthropology from the University of Tokyo, visited the president to find out more about Melayu UK and the diaspora of Malays in UK.
Prof. Tomizawa who was in Oxford for a conferen
The president who has a meeting with KITLV (Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies, Leiden, also visited Prof . Salleh Yaapar. Prof. Salleh is the European Chair of Malay Studies and currently is at the International Institute of Asian Studies, Leiden.
We condemn the terrorist bombings of London on 7 July 2005 in the strongest possible term. The targeting and killing of innocent civilians has no place in civil society and is against the teachings of Islam. Our deepest thoughts are with those who have been killed and injured and we express our condolences to their families.
Perhimpunan Keluarga 2005 held on Sunday 29th May was a great success. The turnout was very good and the weather was excellent. The scout camp was also a wonderful place to relax and enjoy the natural beauty of the woods.
Everybody enjoyed the day despite the men losing to the ladies in the tug-o-war, not once but twice. The children were also very excited with the various activities e.g. archery, air-rifle shooting, obstacle course, abseiling and even football.
The talk given by Dr. Muhammad Nur Manuty entitled "How Islam Influenced the Malay Culture" was also very interesting that we had to limit the number of questions due to a shortage of time. After all the fun, the environment was a bit quieter when everybody were busy eating the plentiful barbecued chicken.
The president visited Faith Regen UK in London to learn more about their work and experiences. Faith Regen focus on faith-based regeneration of inner cities. This is a departure from the traditional regeneration programme where the bulk of the emphasis is put on bricks and mortar, and very little on the human factor.