Friday, March 16, 2007Today my good friend Razak came in his Kenari to take me to the new mosque in Pantai Dalam. When we saw many policemen and traffic policemen around the mosque we knew that a VVIP will be joining us. True enough, His Majesty The Paramount King (S.P.B. Yang Di Pertuan Agong) chose this mosque to pray in today. We were spared a tone-deaf muezzin and we had a spirited khatib (sermon reader). The khatib could not hide the fact that he is from Terengganu while delivering his khutbah (sermon) which was on entertainment. Entertainment, he said, is allowed by the religion as long as religious rules are followed.
The sermon though was marred by the sound of motorbikes coming into the mosque compound. As far as I can remember, this has been going on since I found this mosque. Razak and I, and I am sure a lot of other worshippers too, find this very disconcerting. Here we are trying to listen and understand the sermon (which is part and parcel of Friday prayers) and we get jolted by the loud put-put of bikers who came late. Couldn't they park outside the gates?
Then I remember that this area is "The Place Where There Is No Sheriff" where the usual laws do not seem to apply. Bikes go against the traffic on the highway, bikers do not need crash helmets and they do not stop on red. Cars and buses are parked along yellow lines and even at junctions. Why? Because no one is caught and punished. His Majesty does not come to this neck of the wood that often.
If you think that laws are broken only on the highway, let me tell you that our surau (prayer hall) has been broken in three times now. The first time, a VCD player that I donated to play Quranic verses in between prayers was taken away. The thieves probably needed an amplifier for that because later our high-end amplifier and speakers were taken away. The third break-in involved a couple of stand-fans. This proved too much for the congregation. They made special prayers and the thieves quietly returned the fans.
Yesterday, when I visited the surau for maghrib (sunset) prayers and a religious talk, I found the surau in darkness. I was told that the cable supplying electricity to the car park block where our surau is located was stolen in broad daylight.
I was speechless.