Wednesday, August 16, 2006


by hazril hafiz mohd. hassan

I was only 10 when I first bought my first record. It was from a local band, lining up a very young and talented bunch of boys offering their best to the public. I never was so impressed by any musical forces back then. I was too young to really cope with those colorful sounding material that soon will my major interest.

Start with my father. I learned some basic “introduction” from him. During his younger days, I heard some truthful moment of him involving himself with music. I understand, from him and my mother, he loved rock music… though he never told me directly. The band, two of them I would like to mention here – Sweet Charity and Deep Purple were on his top list. On the radio, perhaps during that time in the 80’s, this (rock) type of music was dominating.

There were so many names to reflect this era, merely from Malaysian local act and mostly those international big names in the whole music business. With it came along the most fearful thread, the western culture. Music was seen as the most powerful influence to spread the western culture. For most of us, music - in particular rock music – is some kind of pollution to whatever customs that we had, especially for the Malays. Also, I was too young to really view this as a thread. I never thought of how the outside world when its shows its true color.

Then, on the age of 13, I start to dig much deeper on music. I started to know names such as Nirvana, Weezer, Green Day – just to name a few. On the same time, at school we were thought about halal (…) and haram (forbidden/prohibited) and music is one of the effected subject. I began to understand. I agree and I could see the fact that western music consists of the negative aspect that could impact our nature as a Muslims. Drugs, free sex, free-thinker, no faith in God and whatever terms that may cross our mind right now. I was young and little by little, I realize I was thinking. I took this thing seriously from that turning point.

As decent as I was, I am lucky that my parents sent me off to a boarding school in Sarawak, the huge land on our Borneo Island. There, I spent almost eight years of my life living in which I describe as more open society. I had grown up with the surrounding where Islam was not the only religion. There was Christian, Buddha and Baha’i which share the day to day living. The sub-culture of the Sarawak origin also taught me the values which were impossible for me to gain if I was fated to stay in Peninsular.

I saw that in this type of environment, each of the sub-religion can easily and openly influence the other. I mean, if we are afraid of the Christianity taught might have an impact on our Islam’s believe, I came to realize that we cannot point a finger to the other parties. We should strengthen our religious believe and practice toward Islam, in order to defend our faith - not by putting a blame on someone else. With the same idea here, we can look into the challenge on western music on our culture.

Honestly, on music, I never interested on the lifestyle that those rock bands promote. I do not see music as a medium of entertainment. I see it as a form of art. Art that can reflect the good and positive vibe of our life. Music can liberate people for goodness. It happens to be just because how we view it. I listen to music – rock music, I sing the song and I play music… my own music. But I never consume drugs; I never drink alcohol, never slept with a girl and never forget who I am. Why? It is because I respect my religious believe. I practice the taught, although not from every aspect. I lay my whole life to walk the line of Islam. I believe there was nothing wrong with music in any kind. The only source of insecurity feeling is from us, human.

I am 24. Now that I am frustrated on how things is going on, especially in Malaysia. Music equal to entertainment… and only entertainment! There is less conscious of those who so called modern artiste wannabe on the responsibility that should be hold by music. We felt on the west definition of music. Listening to current music I felt hopeless and soulless…

For us to understand our surrounding, we should first understand ourselves. It seems that music has drown our integrity as a highly regard society. If we just let this to happen, it will ruin our future as a respectable community in this society. Music seems to left damage on us. Music now is some form of lifestyle. It seldom contains those valuable thought which suppose to reshape the listener’s awareness. More and more people are into music now, but they tend to get lost.

My father has slowdown himself for music now. I derive the rock soul from him. But for me music is for good. I don’t give a damn on what trend is exploding in the music industry nowadays. I am only the observer, and I gain only the best for me. I would share it with anyone who really wants it… or feel the same like I do. A good Muslim will always obey to what Islam taught his people. They know the boundaries of ‘just enough’ and ‘too much’. Where are you standing now?

-16th August 2006, pantai dalam.

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