Being Loud

When I was a little girl, I’m afraid of the public. I ran away from kindergarten hafazan competition because in the last minute I got to know that I needed to read aloud surah Al-Fatihah on stage, with a microphone. During assembly, I was always the last person in the queue. 1. Because I was the tallest, 2. Because I don’t want to interact with people. Because of my silence attitude, I was bullied by two girls who at that time were prettier and more attractive than me. Next to my kindergarten, there was a playground. Usually, after school hours, kids would get their clothes dirty by playing there. I always got back home with clean clothes because I didn’t play along, but I did not go back home straight away either. I was ‘recruited’ by those two hot girls to look after their bags while they were playing with others. If they caught me ‘careless’, which means I looked away, not focus on their bags, one of the girls would pinch me, not that cute kind of pinch but the painful one. I didn’t tell my mum until one day she left a definite mark on my skin because I don’t really remember what ‘sin’ did I do that day that I got extra punishment.

In the evening, other kids including my siblings would go outside to play. But I was not interested in socialising. I stayed at home and watch Taiwan or Hong Kong series. I learned reading since I was 5 years old, so I watched these series with the help of subtitles. My passive behaviours became worse.

Looking at my weak and fragile personality that to a level I couldn’t even stand for myself, my kindergarten teacher, Mrs Halimah (yes I still remember her name & even her face because she was the catalyst who shaped who I am today). She called me and spoke to me in private. She urged to speak up when I think things are wrong, be brave to talk in public, defend myself because teachers and my parents are not there 24/7 to take care of me. When people want to pinch me, fight for myself, but don’t hurt people because I’d be the same like those who want to physically and mentally harm me.

Since 6 years old, the moment Mrs Halimah built my confidence, I was determined to change myself. I changed drastically then I don’t remember that two bullies disturbed me after that. If it wasn’t because of Mrs Halimah, I am still Malissa who you can barely hear her voice even in the class of 10.

My social skills are still terrible, but at least I have about five close friends now. I am planning to expand my social circle but people are tough subjects.

A headscarf

When the Quran verse explaining the sharia to wear hijab until it covers the chest, women ran to their house, grabbed whatever available including curtain to cover themselves. They were responsible for their own aurat. It was not men who forcefully putting clothes on their women’s heads. It was not another woman who ran and put a headscarf on another woman’s head. They willingly covered themselves. When their iman was at its best, the sharia came and women had no conflict to do as told.

But nowadays, things are different. Headscarf first, iman later. While Islam taught us clearly that all human are the same, what differs us is iman.

People say amar makruf, nahi mungkar. But they forget that hidayah is Allah’s right. No matter how strong you push someone, if He says, no, then no. They forget that Abu Thalib was a nice guy, he was the one who defended Nabi Muhammad SAW until his last breath, but in the end, he did not die as a Muslim. And our prophet did not say his place is the hell, but instead, he prayed for Allah’s mercy for Abu Thalib. Do you think Abu Thalib was not well informed about Islam? He was, directly from our prophet himself.

Same as the sharia of headscarf. Muslimah know we have to cover our head to chest, but why some still don’t do so? Do you think only men are granted with akal (ability to think), not women? They know. But because hidayah is Allah’s right. Telling them is our responsibility, forcing them is not.

There is no dalil that tells you to go against women who don’t wear headscarves. For some other sharia, there are guidelines for us to go against them, and still, not everyone can. For example, zakat and murtad, Islam tells us who, how, and what we can do to people who commit wrongdoings in these two matters.

Remember if an egg is broken by an outside force, life ends. If broken by inside force, life begins. And our job is to nurture surrounding for this egg to be able to create inside force. Because eggs don’t break in such a cruel cold environment.

Why I never take BR1M?

Yesterday yet again I tweeted something that triggered some netizens about some people don’t deserve BR1M and yet still take it.

What is BR1M?

The 1Malaysia People’s Aid, also known as BR1M, is a government scheme that was first established in 2012. The purpose of the BR1M scheme was to offer some assistance to households that fall into the low-income category.

From the definition, the highlighted part is the low-income category. The problem here is when people who more than afford than the low-income earners come and take BR1M and messed up with the system. It supposed to assist the poor in their consumption.

The fact that I’m given the BR1M it means I’m eligible enough to take this!

Man, don’t lie. I see some of my friends who are known as loaded kids still apply and get BR1M. Can you still call yourself a low-income earner when you use iPhone 7 and go to vacation every holiday?

And I know there are several ways to qualify yourself to get BR1M when you are not from low-income class. Some people have income that they don’t register, some forge pay slip so that it looks lower than it actually is, some don’t earn money or earn very low income, but stay in a high-income household (parents who earn) and actually don’t have to do anything to afford wealthy life, and so many other ways to qualify yourself to be counted as low-income people even though your consumption is clearly not.

This is where the integrity and honesty fall to. The government cannot track everyone’s consumption. Does this person use iPhone 7? When was the last time he went on vacation? No, the government can’t overview 31,164,177 people consumption. What data people choose to send to them is all what available to them.

I use iPhone and go to vacation but that doesn’t mean I’m rich! 

Yes, you are, even if you’re not rich, you don’t fall into low-income earner. Wealth is measured by the consumption level. If after paying for your shelter, food, utility, and all other sorts of survival expenses you can still afford luxury items like Apple products and spend on leisure such as vacation, you’re wealthy in the economy. Do you know there are actually exist people who don’t have money left after paying bills, food, and rent?

BR1M is not supposed to spend on luxury items or for leisure. It is meant for essential spending such as paying bills, food, rent, etc.

(I use iPhone 7 and vacation as two examples of luxury items and service, there is an endless list of luxury items you know you can recognise yourself)

I paid tax so this is my money?

Do you think you pay tax so that you will get a refund? No. Once you pay tax, the money is no longer yours, the money is government revenue. They decide what to do with your money. Which all economics study is all about, the allocation of resources to important sectors. The government has decided BR1M money is not for everyone, but for low-income people. Therefore if you take money when you’re not low-income earner, you’re taking others’ money.

If paying tax is about getting money back and not for country growth and development, then do you know who will get most of the allocation? Businesses, not the people.

So middle and high income shouldn’t receive anything from the government? So we have to go to a private hospital because we are rich?

I have to explain this in economics term but I will make this as comprehensible as possible.

Hospital, for example, is health care and it is a public good (and services). What is a public good? By economics definition, a public good is non-excludable and non-rivalrous in that individuals cannot be effectively excluded from use and where use by one individual does not reduce availability to others. In simpler words, public goods are for everyone no matter what is your income level, no exception to who can enjoy the benefit.

Meanwhile, BR1M is not a public good. It is a form of transfer payment. Which by definition a payment made or income received in which no goods or services are being paid for, such as a benefit payment or subsidy. A transfer payment is a process to redistribute money from the high class to low class. That means not everyone is entitled to transfer payment.

Why should I give to the poor? I work, I pay tax, I just take my money back. This is a capitalist mindset. The rich getting richer and poor getting poorer because they don’t contribute to the economy.

In short, it is all about not taking other people’s right.

If I don’t take BR1M it’s going to corrupted politicians’ stomach anyway

So what’s the difference between rich people who use poor people’s money with politicians who use people’s money? The first thing you have to do with your enemy is to never do what they do.

This is all depending on your own integrity and honesty. You know yourself which category you fall into. The poor knows they’re poor and the rich always know they’re rich.

Some people ask what is my problem if people take money? If I don’t take mine that’s okay. Let people do what they want.

This is my problem because I am studying economics and people’s problems are economists problem. I am not a kind of government-centric person, I am a people-centric person. I actually have observed this problem for so long, why the hell my rich friends get BR1M? I thought I was the only one who feel there are some not honest acts here, but when I sat and talked with my debate team and Rahim, Rahim voiced out about this, and yes spot on! That is what I have been thinking for all this while. So credit to Rahim to trigger me. And now my job is to trigger people.

P/S: I never take BR1M because I get my allowance £880/month even though my family is a low-income family