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Sunday, December 18, 2011

Twas the Week Before Christmas

Twas the week before Christmas and all through my heart.
Were vision of my grandchildren: all so smart.
Talon can read and Kira can sing.
And Arlo can crawl. Imagine such a thing!
Today on my computer through the magic of skype.
I saw each one of them and the sparkle in their eye.
Oh I want to be with them! It just makes me cry.
Soon, I convinced myself. Soon it will come.
Soon you can hold them. Each and every one.
So I send them my blessings and also to you.
May this Christmas bring joy and worries few.
May candy canes dance and jingle bells ring.
It's a beautiful world. Well… most everything.
To my friends and the family I cherish so dear
May God bless you and hold you until we are near.

Oma Colleen

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Speech Contest

(And they all begin with some variation of this opening statement :)

Honorable all the juries, honorable the committee of this English Speech contest, respectable all teachers, unforgettable all my beloved friends and all my happy audiences.
First of all, let us give thanks to Allah who always gives us mercies and blessings so we can gather in this fabulous place on this happy occasion without any troubles. And secondly may peace be upon the greatest prophet Muhammad SAW, the noblest human being, who has guided us from the darkness into the lightness, namely the Islamic Religion. And peace and blessings upon his family, his friends and his followers.

Dear brothers and sisters, ladies and gentlemen, the title of my speech is…
(And you’ll get to read little snippets from each of these topics.)

Environmental Damage
Global Warming
How to Face Globalization Era
Islam, Science and Technology
Muslim Teenagers Condition at the Present
Save our Earth, Go Green
Self Cleanliness
Sex Education at School
Smoking is a Bad Habit in our Lives
The Impact of Cell Phones on Today’s Youth
The Importance of Islamic Education for our Life
The Importance of Protecting the Environment
The Internet Effect for our Life
The Responsibility of the Teenager Toward their Society
The Role of Religious Education for the Young Generation
The role of Technology on the Development of Traditional Culture
The Youth Responsibility

(Last week I was a judge / juror for an English Speech Contest. The participants were 55 boys and girls ages 12-15 from Islamic middle schools. The kids memorized a 3-7 minute speech in English and recited it for a panel of 4 judges. We also got a printed copy of each speech. The stack of paper in front of me is ½ thick. So here they are: golden nuggets of wisdom from an Indonesian English Speech Contest!) (I’ll put my own comments in parenthesis.) (PS I suspect that most of these speeches were copied from the internet.)

(And the winning speeches – based on content, pronunciation, fluency, expression and time management ….so remember it’s not just what you read here, it’s also how well they were able to deliver the speech.)

The Responsibility of the Teenager Toward their Society

Teenager is the young generation, the leader of the future. It is the most important phase in one’s life because it brings strong influence to the future. If they can pass it well it can guarantee that the future will be good, but if they cannot pass it well, they waste the time, it will be difficult for them to face the future. Teenager has a very important role not only for themselves, the family, the society, even the nation. It’s really a power than can make or change everything to be better or to be worse.
Dear brothers and sisters, teenager, youth or whatever the term is the one important elements of a family. They are the spirit of the family who are always enthusiastic. In a society, the youth is the heart that always beats. The youth is the most important element to gain success. In every movement, they are the expected power. Since on the shoulder of the youth, the burden of responsibility will rely on.
If the youth is the spirit of the family, they must have strong belief. If the youth is the heart of the society, they must be honest and dependable. If the youth is the ones who have responsibility to bear big burden, they must be strong and skillful. If the youth is the pillars of the chosen people, they must have the awareness of Islam.
My happy audiences, but how come the youth can develop their society if they have no capability and do bad things? As we know that, many teenagers are falling into the violation of the God law. They drink alcohol and consume drugs even become drug addicted. They continuously do immoral things like free sex even pregnancy before marriage, they do a lot of crimes. They really do not realize what they have done, they forget that teenagers are the expected generation, the leader of the future.
My brothers and sisters, it is never too late to change. We still have time, we must stop. We must stop it, let’s move to a better condition. If we want to build a good society, we must have the awareness of Islam, we must obey Allah and his messenger. Behave with Islamic character; be afraid of Allah by showing your noble character.
Remember! We are the leader of the future. We must do the best we can do.
Well, I think that’s all my speech. If I have some mistakes I do ask your apology. Thanks for your attention.
Wassalamualaikum warahmatullahi wabarokatuh

Smoking is a Bad Habit in our Lives

My friends, As we know smoking is one part of the daily activities of the majority of Indonesian society. Most smokers know the dangers of smoking but they never tried to stop smoking. Because that, we as the younger generation must be convinced that smoking is bad habits in life. Smoking is a bad habit because of three factors, among others: 1. Contains poison substances. 2. Causing diseases such as cancer. 3. Expensive.
The first factor of smoking is bad habit is contain poison substance. We should not consume cigarettes because it is not good for health. I’m sure you know there are many substances in cigarette smoke is dangerous. For the example, nicotine substance. That substance is very dangerous and can cause various diseases. Not only dangerous for smoker, it is also dangerous for us if we near the smoker. So if there is a smoker near you. Say to him or her for stubbed him/her cigarette for a moment with good polite.
Next, I will talk about the second factor. That is, smoking cause various diseases like cancer, disorders of pregnancy, fetal disorders, and etc. one of the factor of many Indonesian people who died were smoking. The majority is a student!! Many students who died because of smoking and drugs. It was very disappointed! One of the young generation died with the wrong way! Smoking habit also produces behavioral effects that are bad for the smoker. And so many the negative effect of smoking.
Last, cigarette is expensive. Did you know? Cigarette price is 7 – 10 thousand rupiah (75 cents - $1.10) or more than it for one pack. Can you imagine a student or a smoker spent his many to buy a pack of cigarette every day and calculated every week, every month and every year? …. In one year 2.880.000 ($300) If just one pack for a day. If 2,3 or 4 packs a day? How many? So many money, for smoking. This is cause a family got economic crisis and a student can not use his pocket money for school.
Smoking is not positive activity for us, young generation. So Guys. From now, let we say “Go Studying, Stop Smoking!” And be the best student for our country and school. I think that’s all, thank you for your attention.
Wassalamualaikum warahmatullahi wabarokatuh

The Importance of Islamic Education for our Life

Education plays a very important role in this life. Everybody needs education wherever, whenever and from whoever. We cannot live without education. It is so important that without education it will be too difficult for us to develop and make a progress even we will be illiterate.
Let us think about it, is it the same between one who has knowledge and one who hasn’t? It is very easy question to answer, right? Yes, of course not. There is a very significant difference between them. They are like a blind man and one who can see, the darkness and the lightness, live person and dead person, even like human and animal. So, education must be held as good as possible in order to produce a qualified person that have a good behavior and a good character and must be able to compete with others in this globalization era. In this case, we have already had the best guidance that is education based on our religion, Islamic education.
My lovely audiences, it is quite true that our religion, Islam has a very complete regulation that has arranged all aspects in human life. On of them is Education. Islam has a big concern about it because education is a must in Islam. And Allah has commanded for all Moslems without exception to search for knowledge as long as we live in this world.
Knowledge is a power to get everything you want. And Allah has stated his promise in holy Qur’an that (Islamic text) “Allah will raise up to suitable ranks and degrees, those who believe and who have been granted knowledge.”
That’s why, if we want to be successful in our life, the only one key is knowledge. Remember that knowledge here is science and religion. Both of them are important. We need science to develop and compete with other to get a better life and we need religion as our guideline to control and manage our life.
My lovely audiences, here I can conclude that Islamic education is badly needed in our life to get the happiness in this world and hereafter, the next life.
I think enough here my speech, if you find a lot of mistakes, I beg your apology. Thank for your attention.
Wassalamualaikum warahmatullahi wabarokatuh

The Importance of Protecting the Environment

Plants, people, animals and the environment are interdependence….
Technology developed over the years become a tool that can easily human works. Even to support it many new technologies are born for example a computer. Unfortunately, the speed of current technological improvement not followed by protecting awareness of surrounding environment. Massive oil drilling caused by the human vehicle is increasing along with increasing human population from year to year….
The greenhouse effect caused by excessive carbon dioxide and caused warming makes the earth hotter. The next phenomenon acid rain, although it can prevent global warming but acid rain is more dangerous. The human are the main causes! Start from now lets keep environment for our grandchildren one day later. Because no matter how small work you do will be felt by our children and grandchildren one day later.
I think that’s all my speech. I hope this speech will be useful for us. Thank you very much for your attention.
Wassalamualaikum warahmatullahi wabarokatuh

(And just a few choice tidbits to stretch your brain….)


People are always hanging out around the world with its luxury world of tech, luxury and practical.
The use of technology, mainly internet, could change, fade and destroy local tradition. It can also spread bad traditions to other country, such as pornography, drunk, smoking habit and many others.
People, especially children and adolescents can be adversely influenced by constant use the internet. They should use they time for positive activities, example: they can play with his friends football, hide and seek, fitness, study and help his parents.
Some people use internet to access porn sites. This is very dangerous! This sites can make people do as that scene….pop out rape, homicides, free sex and abduction incidents. (I didn’t know what “free sex” was before I came to Indonesia, and I still don't know what "pop out rape" is....)
What should we do in order to face the globalization era? First, build up and strengthen good characters based on the religion. Second, we must master technology in order to develop our country.
We can see it by ourselves how the effects that appear in the West after they declared that they are as the pioneers of scientist, war never stop everyday, the rivalry of modern weapon becomes their pride and soul of man has no value before their missile. (Sometimes I am really glad I am here as an alternative to the thought that Western scientists promote war and don’t value the souls of men.)


The smash up we’ve made of our beloved nature is the same as destruction to ourselves.
The environmental damage can be reduced by putting garbage in the trash bin, doing reforestation, and keeping our environment clean and safe.
We must not throw away rubbish anywhere which can disturb the flowing of the river water.
No one can say that they can exist and stand on their legs without need helps from others.
Reduce fuel consumption. We can on foot or cycling when go to school.
Awareness to save this world from the destruction of environment caused by air pollutions, water pollution, land pollution and even sound pollution. (Wow! I’m impressed that somewhere here in Indonesia the concept of sound pollution may be lurking behind the massive sound systems that assault you for weddings, circumcisions and daily calls to pray!)
Well, from this Qu’ran, Allah claimed that the environmental destructions are caused by human beings. Think it deeply!
There are some efforts which should be done by all people: 1. Not cutting down the trees of the forest. 2. Planting any kinds of tress in the barren area of the forest.
Biotic environment is everything around us which are live, for example plants, animals and human being. While a biotic environment is everything around us which are not live, for example stone, water, wind, land and etc. (This speech was very popular – I leaned about “a biotic” from 7 different speakers.)
Fuel efficient vehicles! Renewable energy! Protecting threatened forest! These common sense solutions won’t only reduce global warming, many will save us money and create new business opportunities.
Saving our planet is a program that was persuading the earthlings so that they would become more concern and care to their entire environment. (I hope you Earthlings are paying attention to this.)
(And I think the speech on Self Cleanliness might be a sub category of Environment…)
With lenses it shows how many unhealthy germs are there and how fast they can spread if a person is unhygienic!


There are 3 kinds of juvenile delinquency: drug abuse, free sex and fights between the students. The 2 causes are: identity crisis and weak self control. The 3 external factors are: family – parents divorce, or disputes between family members can triggers negative behaviors in teenagers, friends – that have not too good behavior and community / neighborhood is not good.
If we see our society deeply we will not see but sinfulness, we don’t smell but sinful odor, we don’t touch but violent relationship, we don’t tell but the bitterness of life, we don’t hear but slanders that spread out in every single.
We are prohibited to have faulty characters. (character traits) We are also prohibited to imitate the disastrous western ways of life!
If teenagers don’t behave with Islamic characters, they will certainly become contemptible people.
So be afraid of Allah and purify your heart and mind. If you do so, you will become people who are loved by Allah.
Youth are the hope of Islam religion who will strive for the sake of Islamic teaching in the next maintenance of the Islamic laws, who will safeguard the young Moslem generation at large from the influence of destructive western lifestyle.
And the most popular problem is free sex.
Teenagers must be given sex education especially at school. They must know about free sex life and sex crime. The teachers can describe sex for the students in order that the teenagers will avoid sex before married. (This is a popular stance here, I’ve heard it in many speeches – if students only knew what sex was really about they would surely avoid it.)
Initially I kiss, kiss. I finally hug, hug. I did not realize at the persuasion demons. I did not realize I was too far. Owww I got pregnant first. Owww already three months! (from a “forbidden/banned song” that a student sung as part of her speech and all the kids sang along with her.)
However, there are many teenagers have been depreved. (Misspelled in all 5 speeches) They run to drugs, commit suicide, free sex, drink alcohol, smoking etc. those are spreading in teenagers life. (4 students gave this same speech.)
In the modern era, the teenagers of Indonesia decide to be not continuing their study. They prefer to be a punker or a singer beggar to study in the school. They like wearing strange cloths, sleeping in street edge, robbing passengers, and leaving their home.
The education branch should accept all teenagers without looking how much their score, how naughty them and their status of parent.
In this huge world we don’t live alone because Allah knows that as human being we cannot live alone. We were not born from a stone, but we were born by a mother with all of her love and hope that we become a better generation for our family, our country and our religion in the future.
Many negative influences; from friends, mass media, and environment, try to drag us in. For any teenagers who don’t realize these, of course they will just follow the flow easily. For example, running away from school, stealing, doing murder, having drug, free sex, abused to porn reading or video and so on.
The last I want to say to all my friends who has many beautiful dreams “Lets back to Islamic morality then we will live successfully in this world and in here after. There are thousands of positive activities to spend our times.”

Religious Education:

Do we have to carry bamboo spear? Do we have to carry a gun? Do we have to bring a complete war equipment? No! The main provision to preserve the integrity of our state is a good character.
How many teenagers obey and adhere to their parents? How many teenagers obey and adhere to their teachers? How many teenagers who every prayer time always go to the mosque? And now, try to compare among the teenagers around us…. How many hundred and even how many thousands of teenagers who wander outside or hang out every night? How many young men who fight every month? How many teenagers who doing free sex?
Now holding the true religion is like holding fire. It’s very hard to apply in the real situation. Naughtiness of teenagers and adults is caused by lack of Islam education.
The children spend much of their time in the playground or common room, where children discuss the latest pop stars, films, actors and actresses, flootballers, idolizing them to the point of emulating them. No longer are Muhammad SWA and the Sahabah RA seen as the role models, but they have been replaced by the likes of Madonna, Michael Jackson, Take That, Gazza etc.
Now lets consider a similar scenario as above. The child arrives at a school in the Islamic State and begins the day by greeting his/her colleagues and teachers with the greeting of Islam. The child has the first lesson, perhaps a science subject. It could be a selection of the experimental or pure sciences. It would be taught with the Islamic ‘Aqeedah / belief as the basis and an overriding guide. As the parent, could rest assured that ideas such as the Theory of Evolution would not be taught; humans would not be considered as advanced animals; the Big Bang Theory would not be taught as fact. These would be studied later in university along with their refutation.
In history, our children would be exposed to the rich Islamic history. They would study the different Akhulafa’a and their achievements; the famous scholars and the roles they played; the discoveries and inventions that were made; the conspirators against Islam and how they were dealt with; the positive influence of the Khilafah upon the world. Our child could show how the achievement of the Muslims of the Islamic State place them hundreds of years ahead of their contemporaries who were in the Dark Ages. They could give accurate accounts of the battle between Salahudeen and the Crusaders or the life stories of the Sahabah RA.
School break times and lunch times would be a time to enjoy the company of other Muslims with good etiquette’s, filled with conversations about famous Muslims: leaders, scholars, mathematicians, scientists and others who would be adequate role models. They would not learn to swear or learn of ill practices and would possess the most pleasing mannerisms. In the bigger school society there would also be education of Islam through the state’s media. Through television, radio and children’s magazines, only Islamic ideals and values would be passed.
All these measures would guarantee the nurturing of a fine generation that could be the leaders of the Khilafah. And your child could contribute to this.

(Wow! What really is my mission here? Well, it’s 3 fold –
1 To help the people of Indonesia meet their need for trained men and women – be an English teacher at an Islamic High School
2 To help promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the people of Indonesia
3 To help promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of all Americans.)

(In other words, I’m out to capture their hearts and minds and bring peace and understanding. And I’m out to capture your heart and mind too. Can you read about this speech contest and what young Indonesians are saying and find a place in your heart for peace and understanding? Just for today can you share a piece of your heart and not a piece of your mind?)

(And I have a hidden agenda. I am hoping that someone who reads these blogs will be inspired to become a Peace Corps Volunteer. It begins with a queasy feeling in the pit of your soul, a willingness to face the challenges that are unique to Peace Corps service and a willingness to invest time and energy into leaving an impression that will last for years.)

Well, happy audiences that I loved, that’s all I can deliver in this occasion. Hopefully, it can be useful information for you all. And the important thing is we can make it in our life. The last I say is

Wassalamualaikum warahmatullahi wabarokatuh
(May safety, mercy and blessings be given to you.)