Betawi bound

One last post before I am Jakarta bound, meeting my fate on the mats of the in the midst of other aikidokas, sensei-s and a sensei from Japan. I am both nervous and excited and I really hope I can pull this through. This journey has never been easy. BUT I keep telling myself, if KungFu panda can do it, so can I. But he’s  a cartoon, so anything is possible for him. As for me, it was hard work, trying to liberate myself from my own fear from within, trying to liberate myself from my ego and trying to liberate myself from any inhibitions I may have.

And speaking of liberty, on Monday evening, I had the opportunity to attend to the lecture by Prof  Tariq Ramadan, who was here for a visit at the husband’s former campus, ISTAC. Firstly, it felt good to be back at ISTAC. Although the husband was the student there, I used to just hang out at the castle like building, walking through and fantasizing that I was in Morroco or something, while waiting for him to finish class. Secondly, the opportunity to be listening live again to Prof Tariq Ramadan, the grandson of the great Imam Hassan Al Banna was priceless.

Prof Tariq Ramadan

The lecture he gave, to an overspilling crowd was ‘Is Liberty an Islamic Value?’. I don’t have the time to summarise snippets of his awesome lecture that night but in passing, he touched upon what is meant by being ‘liberated’ and the paradoxical relationships between the role of rules and laws in the liberation process.

I also got myself a book that night from the stalls selling books outside the auditorium; iMuslim by Gary R. Bunt, about the penetration of IT into the Muslim homes and how do the Muslims deal with the barrage of information and resources, both good and bad in the comforts of the Muslim home.

The internet has profoundly shaped how Muslims perceive Islam, and how Islamic societies and networks are evolving and shifting within the twenty-first century. While these electronic interfaces appear new and innovative in terms of how the media is applied, much of their content has a basis in classical Islamic concepts, with an historical resonance that can be traced back to the time of the Prophet Muhammad.

iMuslims explores how these transformations and influences play out in diverse cyber Islamic environments, and how they are responding to shifts in technology and society. The book discusses how, in some contexts, the application of the internet has had an overarching transformational effect on how Muslims practice Islam, how forms of Islam are represented to the wider world, and how Muslim societies perceive themselves and their peers. On one level, this may be in terms of practical performance of Islamic duties and rituals, or on the interpretation and understanding of the Qur’an. On another level, cyber Islamic environments have exposed Muslims to radical and new influences outside of traditional spheres of knowledge and authority, causing long-standing paradigmatic shifts at a grassroots level within societies. iMuslims looks at how these changes are taking place, including through social networking sites and the blogosphere.

I am just at the introduction part of the book and I find it a little academic-ish, maybe it was intended to be that way. But nevertheless, it is an engaging read, something which would be in my backpack for my in flight reading via KLM to Jakarta.

For now, I shall do my last minute packing and send all goodwill and positive aura to the camp leaders, in hoping they would be moved enough to let me out at least once in the duration of the camp to have my fix at Bumbu Desa.

Betawi is the name for old Jakarta. Or as the Oranje colonizers called  it, Batavia. I somehow prefer the sound of Betawi better than the sound of Jakarta. There is soto Betawi ( which is delicious!) but no soto Jakarta. So Betawi, here I come, yet again! 🙂


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