Thursday, June 30, 2011

Starting A Business

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Many people may dream of starting their own business. Some are driven by the satisfaction of being their own boss while, for others, it is the lure of making money from their innovations and ideas. The road to entrepreneurship is varied. There is the very small, weekend business that does not require a large overhead. Those who are looking at larger operations will clearly need to have more capital. For example, a franchise such as Secret Recipe’s will cost about RM420,000 in franchise fees and initial in investments, according to Franchise Malaysia’s website.

Recommended Financial Moves:

Take a look at your career and finances
Making the move from employee to employer is a risky endeavour. If the business is not successful, you may have to declare bankruptcy or lose much of your invested wealth. Those who want to start a business soon should also take a careful look at their plan to see whether it is financially viable without compromising on their other important goals in life.

Separate your finances
Business that require significant capital may require external sources of funds such as venture-capitalist financing, loans from business associates, private loans and help from family and friends. It is good practice to separate your personal finances from money for the company. This ensures that your personal finances are constantly in order and improves your chances of getting commercial loans, as bankers will be concerned that the funds that they give are used for their intended purpose.

Consider your capabilities
One question to ask is whether you are capable of starting and operating a successful business. The idea of a start-up may seem alluring, but the budding entrepreneur may find it difficult to sustain its commercial viability. A considerable amount of planning needs to be done prior to the launch of a company, in addition to personal and financial dedication. Lack of experience does not necessarily mean that entrepreneurs should not start a business; however, they should wait until they have considerable knowledge in their chosen industry.
(Source: Personal Money)

Buying Your First Home

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Buying your own place is a significant milestone in life. Even those who choose to live with their families are likely to invest in property to finance their long-term goals. According to Malaysian House Price Index, in 2010, the average house price rose to RM199,636 from Q42009’s RM188,542. Not surprisingly, in 4Q2010, Kuala Lumpur recorded the highest average price level in the country at RM430,163, followed by Selangor at RM301,443 and Sarawak at RM253,391.

Recommended Financial Moves:

Do not overleverage   
Property is probably the most expensive purchase you would make in your lifetime. Clearly, your first property should be ideal in many ways – location, size and build quality. Avoid the temptation of spending more than you afford; as you would most probably need a mortgage to finance the purchase.

Avoid being over-leveraged on your loan. Try to borrow up to 80% of the property’s value and pay the rest in cash. A large mortgage means that monthly repayments will be steep, which eats into your income. Property is also regarded as an illiquid asset since it cannot be converted into cash in a few days and is usually held by investors for the long term. Before signing the sale and purchase agreement, do the maths to ensure that you can afford to pay the loan instalments and save for other life goals at the same time.

Be cash smart
You must have sufficient cash in hand before making your acquisition. If you intend to make a purchase within the next five years, keep your money in liquid assets such as fixed deposits or fixed-income funds. Preparing for the cost involved does not just include the down payment but other fixed expenses associated with the sale of the property, such as legal and valuation fees, stamp duty and insurance while variable expenses include the real estate agent’s fees and renovation, repair and maintenance costs. To fully prepare for these costs, put aside 30% to 40% of the property’s current value, advise the financial planners.

If you are planning to move into your new abode, consider staggering your purchases. Begin by buying the necessities – things you can afford to pay in full – and slowly work towards furnishing the entire place. For further savings, you can accumulate credit-card reward points to redeem household items and shop at warehouse clearance sales.
(Source: Personal Money)

Siapa Kata Muslim Tidak Patut Kaya Raya

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Ramai Melayu berpendapat tidak perlu mencari kekayaan, ataupun menjadi jutawan. Islam dikatakan menuntut supaya umatnya bersederhana. Betulkah ini?


Sebenarnya ini adalah salah satu perkara yang kita sering terlepas pandang. Ulama dan ustaz di luar sana memberitahu kita bahawa kita ini adalah 'umattan wasata'  iaitu umat pertengahan. Namun maksud umat pertengahan itu ditafsirkan dengan cara yang kurang betul.


Sikap bersederhana yang dimaksudkan Nabi S.A.W ialah: "Allah amat kasih akan hambanya yang apabila melakukan sesuatu kerja dia membuat dengan cara yang terbaik "( Hadis sahih riwayat al-Dailami.)


Di sini “sederhana” yang dimaksudkan ialah “seimbang”, dalam ertikata seimbang di dunia dan di akhirat. Hebat di rumah dan hebat juga dengan masyarakat. Kita mesti hebat dalam apa jua yang kita lakukan, serta perlu seimbang. Kita tidak boleh terlalu hebat di dalam masyarakat sehingga rumahtangga terabai. Itu bukan seimbang tetapi pincang.


Sekiranya konsep sederhana ditafsirkan dengan betul, umat Islam, khususnya kaum Melayu mampu menjadi hebat dan cemerlang, tidak menjadi 'jumud' atau terikat.


Orang kaya dan jutawan di dunia boleh menggunakan kekayaannya untuk membantu menaikkan taraf kehidupan saudaranya yang miskin melalui zakat dan sedekah jariah.


Selain daripada menyamaratakan kedudukan ekonomi dalam masyarakat, ia juga menjalinkan ukhwah semasa Muslim.


Orang yang menghulurkan zakat dan sedekah jariah dengan ikhlas, bakal menerima ganjaran besar di akhirat. Itulah yang dikatakan “seimbang” dunia dan akhirat.


Cuba fikirkan bagaimana  hendak membangunkan umat sekiranya kita tidak kaya dengan cara yang Allah redha. Oleh itu jangan lagi berkata bahawa Islam tidak mementingkan kekayaan.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Do Not Over-diversify

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By Azizi Ali

Practically every book on investing preaches the benefits of diversification. “Put some money here, put some there, put some this side and some over the other side. This way, you will be still protected in case one of your investments turns sour.” Any financial planner or wealth adviser worth his salt will also embrace this idea. He has to – it is one of the first lesson taught in class! And let’s not forget the small matter of the commissions they make from selling the different products to their clients!

Diversification is a technique used to minimize risks and, therefore, reduce losses. By the way, the key word here is “reduce”. You may think you have diversified by investing in stocks in different sectors and several unit trust funds, fixed deposits and properties. This is the textbook diversification strategy. Unfortunately, if the currency crashes, all your investments will also crash with it.

Let us use an analogy:
Diversification is the defensive strategy a football team applies when playing a game away from home. The idea is not to win but to get a 0-0 draw by preventing the home team from scoring. The same problem applies to the diversification strategy. Because the focus is on spreading one’s available (and often limited) capital into many different investments, it will be difficult to build serious wealth as the money is spread too thin.

I’ve met a person who has invested in 14 unit trust funds! And let’s not mention his other investments. I don’t see how he is going to get anywhere doing that. He’s doing a great job in making the fund manager rich, though!

Investing in a unit trust fund is already a form of diversification. With all due respect, the only way he (and most people) can afford to invest in 14 different funds is by putting a miniscule amount – perhaps RM1,000 or so – in each fund. How is that money going to help him, let alone make him rich?

A better strategy is to focus your investments. Of course, I’m not advocating choosing just one investment. That would be foolish, irresponsible and risky. So yes, you should diversify, but just a little. Choose no more than five different instruments and concentrate on them. Put the bulk of your money into these five instruments, and keep adding whenever you have spare cash (of course, this is assuming that the five instruments are winners). This strategy will also save you much time and effort. Can you imagine doing research on and tracking 14 different unit trust funds on a regular basis?

This is what Warren Buffett has to say about diversification: “Wide diversification is only required when investors do not understand what they are doing.” It is my experience that not only do most investors not understand what they are doing, they know nothing at all about investing!

I’d like to paraphrase Scottish-American industrialist Andrew Carnegie: ”Put your eggs in a few baskets and watch those baskets carefully!”

If the two richest men in the world do not believe in or practice diversification, it ought to tell the rest of us something.
(Source: Personal Money)

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Remedies For Hurt Tendons

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Two time-honored remedies for injured tendons seem to be falling on their faces in well-designed clinical trials.
   The first, corticosteroid injections into the injured tendon, has been shown to provide only short-term relief, sometimes with poorer long-term results than doing nothing at all. And resting the injured joint is supposed to prevent matters from getting worse, but may also fail to make them any better. Rather, working the joint in a way that doesn’t aggrevate the injury but strengthens supporting tissues and stimulates blood flow to the painful area may promote healing faster than “a tincture of time.”
   And some researchers suggest that counterintuitive remedies may work just as well or better.
   A review of 41 “high quality” studies involving 2,672 patients, published in November in the The Lancet, revealed only short-lived benefit from corticosteroid injections. For the very common problem of tennis elbow, injections of platelet-rich plasma derived from patients’ own blood had better long-term results.  
Still, the authors, from the University of Queensland and Griffith University in Australia, emphasizes the need for more and better clinical research to determine which among the many suggested remedies works best for treating different tendons.
   Jane E. Brody, a renowned writer on health, had a problem which was precipitated one autumn by eight days of pulling a heavy suitcase through six airports. Her shoulder hurt nearly all the time, not a happy circumstance for a daily swimmer and trying to retrieve sometimes even slightly behind her produced a stabbing pain. Diagnosis: tendonitis and arthritis.
   Two months of physical therapy did help somewhat, as did avoiding motions that caused acute pain. The therapist had some useful tips on adjusting her swimming stroke to minimize stress on the tendon while the injury gradually began to heal.
   The following spring, though she still had some pain and feared a relapse, she attacked her garden with a vengeance. Much to her surprise, she was able to do heavy-duty digging and lugging without shoulder pain. Could the intense workout and perhaps the increased blood flow to her shoulder have enhanced her recovery? Her friend, Richard Erde, had an instructive experience.
   An avid tennis player at 70, he began having twinges in right shoulder while playing. Soon, simple motions like slipping out of a shirt sleeve caused serious pain. The  diagnosis was injury of the tendon that attaches the biceps muscle of his upper arm to the bones of the shoulder’s rotator cuff. He as advised to see a rheumatologist, who decline to a corticosteroid injection and instead recommended physical therapy and rest.
   Erde stopped playing tennis for a month, and it didn’t help at all. The physical therapist found he had very poor range of motion and had him do a variety of exercises, which improved his flexibility and reduced the pain somewhat. After two months, he stopped the therapy.
   Then several weeks later, after watching the Australian Open, he thought he should do more to strengthen his arm and shoulder muscles and decided to try playing tennis more vigorously. The pain started to drop off dramatically and in just 10 days the pain had eased more than 90 percent.
   Tendonipathies, as the injuries are called, are particularly vexing orthopedic problems that remain poorly understood despite their frequency. “Tendinitis” is a misnomer: Rarely are there signs of inflammation, which no doubt accounts for the lack of lasting improvement with steroid shots and anti-inflamatory drugs. They may relieve pain temporarily, but don’t cure the problem.
   The underlying pathology of tendinopathies is still a mystery. Even when patients recover, their tendons may continue to look awful, say therapists who do imaging studies. Without a better understanding of the actual causes of tendon pain, it’s hard to develop rational treatments, and even the best specialists may be reduced to trial and error. What works best for one tendon, or one patient, may do little or nothing for another.
   Most tendinopathies are precipitated by overuse and commonly afflict overzealous athletes. With or without treatment, they usually take a long time to heal: many months, even a year or more. They can be frustrating and often costly, especially for professional athletes and physically active people. 
   In a commentary accompanying the Lancet report, Alexander Scott and Karim M. Khan of the University of British Columbia noted that though “corticosteroid injections does not impair recovery of shoulder tendinopathy, patients should be advised that evidence for even short-term benefits at the shoulder is limited.” Like the Australian reviewers, the commentators concluded that “specific exercise therapy might produce more cures at 6 and 12 months than one or more corticosteroid injections.”
   The question is: What kind of physical therapy gives the best results? Most therapists prescribe eccentric exercises, which involve muscle contractions as the muscle fibers  lengthen – for example, when a hand-held weight is lowered from the waist to the thigh. Eccentric exercises must be performed in a controlled manner; uncontrolled eccentric contractions are a common cause of injuries like groin pulls or hamstring strains. 
   Marilyn Moffat, professor of physical therapy at New York University and president of the World Confederation of Physical Therapy, prefers “very protective” isometric exercises, at least at the onset of treatment until the tendon injury begins to heal. Those exercises involve no movement at all, allowing muscles to contract without producing pain.
    The stronger the shoulder muscles are when the tendinopathy calms down, the better shape the shoulder is in to take over movement without further injury. Dr Moffat said, “You don’t want the muscles to weaken, which is what happens when you rest and do nothing. That leaves you vulnerable to further injury.”
(NYT)

Kerja Memasak Selamat dan Menyeronokkan

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Kedudukan dan pilihan dapur masak penting bagi memastikan kerja memasak lebih selamat, mudah, pantas dan menyeronokkan. Pastikan ia terletak berdekatan sink, mempunyai lebihan ruang untuk menempatkan kuali dan periuk panas, menonjolkan reka bentuk kemas dan dilengkapi alat penyedut wap bagi menghilangkan bau dan asap masakan. Alat ini pula seelok-eloknya dipasang lampu tumpu bagi menerangi ruang masakan, terutama jika dapur masak terletak agak tersorok.

  • Binaan kabinet dapur berpulau dengan meletakkan tungku di unit berpulau, paling praktikal bagi mereka yang tidak betah duduk di satu-satu tempat sewaktu memasak atau mempunyai ruang penyimpanan berasingan mengikut kegunaan. Bagaimanapun, pastikan ia dilengkapi alat penyedut wap berkuasa tinggi kerana kedudukanya di tengah ruang. 
  • Pastikan jaring meletak kuali pada tungku berkeadaan kukuh. Jangan pilih dapur masak yang jejari logamnya terlalu pendek atau tinggi kerana ia menyukarkan kerja memasak, terutama jika anda seorang yang rendah. Bagi anda yang rajin memasak, pastikan juga bahagian dasar dapur masak dan jaring meletak kuali diperbuat daripada enamel bermutu tinggi atau logam tahan lasak dan kalis calar. Jika anda seorang yang takut mengguna gas, beli dapur masak elektrik.
  • Ketinggian dapur masak sepatutnya lebih rendah daripada permukaan meja kerja dan kelengkapan di sekelilingnya bagi mengelak percikan minyak panas dan tumpahan air. Pastikan anda boleh melihat masakan yang sedang dimasak. Tungku hendaklah terletak pada jarak 10 hingga 17.5 sm di bawah siku.
  • Jangan tinggalkan kuali panas atau cerek berisi air panas di atas tungku bagi mengelak kemalangan yang tidak diingini jika tersinggung barangan itu sewaktu sibuk memasak.
  • Seelok-eloknya pasang alat ketuhar dalam kabinet siap dipasang dan pastikan kedudukannya tinggi supaya tidak mudah dicapai kanak-kanak tetapi jangan terlalu tinggi sehingga sukar pula anda hendak memasak. Jika membeli dapur masak beserta alat ketuhar, alat ini lazimnya terletak di bahagian bawah dapur masak, jadi pastikan anak kecil anda tidak mendekatinya sewaktu ia sedang berfungsi. Seelok-eloknya beli alat ketuhar berpintu cermin yang kalis panas.
  • Jika tertumpah sesuatu di atas dapur masak, perkara pertama yang perlu dibuat ialah menabur garam di atasnya sebelum mengaut semula dengan senduk kayu, kemudian lap kesan tumpahan menggunakan tuala basah.
  • Masakan hangus atau tumpahan cecair boleh membuatkan alat ketuhar berbau busuk. Hilangkannya dengan meletak sepiring ammonia pada rak teratas manakala air bersih dalam kuali diletakkan pada rak di bawah. Biarkan semalaman, kemudian baru buka penutup ketuhar dan bersihkan dengan bancuhan air pencuci suam. Untuk menghilangkan bau yang kurang enak daripada kesan masakan, letak semangkuk cuka di dalam ketuhar dan biarkan seketika. Cuka dikatakan boleh menyerap bau.
  • Serbuk penaik paling mujarab untuk memadamkan kebakaran kecil yang disebabkan sambaran minyak dan litar pintas. Ia jauh lebih baik daripada menggunakan air. Anda cuma perlu merenjiskannya di bahagian yang terbakar.
(Sumber: Anjung Seri)

Friday, June 24, 2011

Don't Fight Fire With Fire

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As children grow and develop, sometimes they may hurl these three words – “I hate you!” – at their parents in the heat of the moment. They may upset that you refused to get the toy they wanted, or changed your mind about an outing they had been looking forward to. 

These hateful words strike directly at their parents’ hearts. Their intention is to defy us and arouse our anger.

Most parents, upon hearing these words from their children, tend to get very angry. The father of the eight-year-old responsed with an ultimatum: “I will not speak to you for two days umtil you come to your senses.”

Parents have to realize that responding negatively to their children’s hurtful tactic in the fight can worsen the situation. First, the parent must take a step back and calm down.

There is very little room for reconciliation when both adult and child are mad at each other. You can suggest that both of you take a break from each other before you talk to him further.

When both of you have cooled off, you can approach your child to resolve the conflict. Children usually feel better after they have had some time to take control of their behaviour. They feel worse is their parents lash back at them with punishment or harsher words.

Help your child understand that his feelings are important. You may feel disappointed with the way your child reacted to you. If you only focus on these three words, you may overlook how much your child needs your help in working out his distress.

Initially, older children and teenagers may reject any form of help from you to resolve the conflict. This does not mean you shun them to give them “a taste of their own medicine”.

In cases where they are unable to calm down, ask them to write down their feelings and thoughts for you. You may even try doing the same yourself. Both parent and child need to understand each other’s point of view before they can resolve their conflict peacefully.

Instead of getting defensive or offended when your child directs his anger at you, you must prepare yourself to listen attentively to him when he is able to explain himself. Don’t let your pride rob you of the opportunity to show your child how much you love him.

Your child may have ideas to share with you. Letting him talk proves to him that you respect him as a person. You may find out a thing or two that you have missed in your busy schedule.

You will will discover that your child has been blamed for something he did not do. Or, that you are changing your mind again without considering your child’s feelings.

Parents need to spend more time helping their child learn rather than taking disciplinary measures to rid him of his bad behaviour. When adults lead with example, children will have more positive options in their communication.

Be aware of your own words used when you are feeling frustrated or angry. Your children who often hear you remark how you hate this or that will use the same words when they feel the same way. Choose your words wisely.

Label the behaviour and not the child. Help them to understand what they have done is not right. Children can accept that you are upset with what they have done but they must know that you love them unconditionally.

Children are more likely to find better words to use when they feel secure and loved. They will least likely lose control and use harsh words to attack their parents. When their deepest need for love and affection are met, they feel happy with what they have. They know how to be grateful and generous to those around them.

Menjelang Usia Tua


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Setiap makhluk ciptaan Allah akan merasai usia tua. Apakah kita sudah merancang sesuatu untuk menghadapai masa itu? Antara rancangan yang disarankan ketika menghampiri usia 50 tahun ke atas adalah:

Wirid
Amalkan wirid tertentu mengikut hari. Panduan mengenai perkara ini boleh didapati dalam buku tulisan Ustaz Dato Ismail Kamus: Indahnya Hidup Bersyariat (Harga RM55.00) terbitan Telaga Biru Sdn Bhd. Hendaklah istiqamah dalam mengamalkannya sehingga kembali ke alam barzakh. 

Hobi
Kita boleh mengisi masa dengan berkebun, menternak ayam dan sebagainya. Andaikata kita menanam pokok buah-buahan, hasilnya boleh disedekahkan kepada jiran dan saudara-mara supaya memperoleh pahala di samping merapatkan silaturrahim. Ini amalan soleh.       

Al-Quran
Baca Al-Quran setiap hari 100 ayat. Jika tidak dapat 100 ayat, bacalah sekadar termampu. Ini memang dituntut oleh Rasulullah s.a.w. sebagai usaha mengelak penyakit nyanyuk.

Timba Ilmu
Hadiri majlis-majlis ilmu di surau dan masjid. Selain memperoleh ilmu kita boleh berinteraksi dengan rakan dan menambah kenalan baru.

Riadah
Lakukan riadah ringan misalnya berjalan-jalan di taman rekreasi atau menyertai senaman taici yang lembut tetapi mengeluarkan peluh. Apabila badan berpeluh, kita akan menjadi lebih sihat dan bertenaga.

Jangan:
  • menjadi ahli politik kedai kopi, berpidato berapi-api. Kaum lelaki yang membuang masa berborak kosong seperti ini sepatutnya menggunakan masa itu untuk perkara yang berfaedah.
  • menjadi wanita yang suka bertandang ke rumah jiran dan mengadakan mesyuarat tingkap. Dalam keadaan seperti ini perbuatan mengumpat dan mengadu domba mungkin sukar dielakkan.
  • memanjakan cucu-cucu sehingga mengabaikan solat.
  • menghabiskan masa di laman sosial seperti Facebook, ber chatting sakan dengan menyamar sebagai orang muda, atau melayari laman web yang tidak sepatutnya. Naudzubillah min zalik..
Tanyalah diri, agak-agaknya berapa lama lagikah Allah s.w.t meminjamkan umur kepada kita? Semoga usia yang tersisa ini dapat diisi dengan melakukan sebanyak-banyak kebaikan.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Menyelam Sudah Dikira Berwuduk

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Oleh Ustaz Syed Mohd. Fadzli al-Yamani
(Mudir/Pengasas Madrasah al-Yamani, Kg. Baru, Kuala Lumpur)

Assalamualaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,

Dalam kitab Fatih al-Mu’in Hamish Tanah al-Talibin (jilid 1, hlm.42) dinyatakan: “Dan jika seseorang yang berhadas menyelam walaupun di dalam air yang sedikit dan berniat untuk berwuduk dan tidak menyelam dalam tempoh yang lama tetapi dengan kadar yang cukup untuk tertib, maka sah wuduknya.”

Tidak perlu digosok setiap anggota wuduk, memadai dengan menyelam sahaja.

Disebut dalam kitab Asna al-Mutalib (jil. 1, hlm. 35): “Sekiranya seseorang itu menyelam dengan niat berwuduk walaupun dimulakan atau didahulukan dengan bahagian bawah (kaki), maka sah wuduknya. Dan tertib berlaku secara takdir.”

Islam agama yang mudah tetapi jangan pandai-pandai memudahkannya tanpa merujuk al-Quran dan hadis. Belajarlah daripada para ulama. Daripada Umar r.a., sesungguhnya Rasulullah s.a.w. bersabda yang bermaksud: “Sesiapa berwuduk dengan sebaik-baik wuduk, maka akan keluar dosa-dosa daripada tubuhnya sehinggga ia keluar dari celah-celah kukuhnya.” (Riwayat Muslim).  

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Pecahan Wang Bulanan

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Bagi yang belum membiasakan diri membuat catatan perbelanjaan bulanan, seterusnya memperincikan kepada perbelanjaan mingguan serta harian, eloklah dimulakan sekarang. Setiap pembaharuan perlu dimulakan segera walaupun dengan langkah kecil yang pertama. Alah bisa tegal biasa.

Bayar Diri Sendiri = 20%
Sebagai panduan sebelum terbabas, dalam apa-apa situasi pun langkah bijak adalah dengan membayar diri kita dahulu sebelum membayar orang lain. Ini termasuklah simpanan perlindungan takaful dan pelaburan. Anggaplah bayar diri sendiri sebagai perbelanjaan wajib. Kombinasi yang sesuai bergantung kepada situasi kewangan semasa seseorang.

Perbelanjaan (Bulanan & Bermusim) = 40%
Tahun mendatang dicanangkan pula dengan kenaikan kadar inflasi secara global. Malah dijangka kadar inflasi rantau Asia akan melonjak kepada 5.3% pada tahun 2011 berbanding 4.4% pada tahun 2010. Sebahagiannya angkara krisis nuklear Jepun dan juga pergolakan di Timur Tengah.

Untuk kita masyarakat umum, data tersebut hanya menggambarkan satu perkara sahaja iaitu kenaikan harga makanan dan kos hidup. Sejauh mana kita bersedia untuk menghadapi situasi ini? Suka atau tidak, realiti itu kita kena tempuhi juga.

Semakin dihitung perbelanjaan bulanan, semakin sempit fikiran mencongak perbelanjaan mana yang perlu dikurangkan, sedangkan anak kecil masih menyusu susu formula dan berlampin, sementara yang besar masih bersekolah. Apapun situasinya, congak-congaklah agar perbelanjaan harian dan bermusim tidak melebihi 40% daripada pendapatan bulanan. Baki 40% lagi adalah untuk menampung hutang. Binalah kekuatan untuk mengawal nafsu agar perbelanjaan hanyalah untuk keperluan, bukan mengikut kemahuan.

Hutang = 40%
Hidup zaman sekarang ini mahu tidak mahu, kita terpaksa berhutang. Hampir mustahil hidup tanpa hutang. Berbalik kepada penduduk kota yang bergaji sekitar RM3000 sebulan, rasanya wajarlah sekiranya hutang 40% untuk ansuran bulanan kereta dan rumah sahaja. Sekiranya ditambah dengan hutang lain, alamatnya meningkatlah kadar tersebut.  

Adakalanya kesempitan sampai ke tahap jumlah pendapatan yang perlu ditingkatkan. Bagaimana menambah pendapatan bulanan keluarga? Kini, ramai yang terperangkap dengan janji-janji manis pendapatan lumayan pelbagai jualan langsung yang menetapkan syarat untuk terlebih dahulu menebarkan modal yang besar. Ramai para penjawat awam terperangkap dengan pinjaman peribadi untuk mendapatkan modal itu hingga akhirnya ramai juga yang berniaga tak ke mana tetapi hutang bertimbun di kepala!

Oleh itu fikirkan semasak-masaknya sebelum terjun ke bidang tersebut. Sebenarnya sesiapapun mampu menjalani kehidupan yang bahagia dan tenang dalam batas kemampuan kewangan masing-masing. Kembalilah kepada keutamaan untuk kaya di akhirat sepertimana firman Allah dalam surah al Ra’d:26 bermaksud –
“Allah meluaskan rezeki dan menyempitkannya bagi sesiapa yang Dia kehendaki. Mereka bergembira dengan kehidupan di dunia, padahal kehidupan dunia itu (dibandingkan dengan) kehidupan akhirat, hanyalah kesenangan (yang sedikit)”   

(Sumber: Solusi 32)



Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Don't Rest On Your Laurel

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Life is kind of crazy and unpredictable, and that doesn’t stop when you retire. You could still win something big or get hit by a bus, or anything in between. That’s why traditional straight-line retirement planning does not address much of what goes on during real-life retirement. The old guidelines of  “put this every month untill you retire, then take this much out every month”, just doesn’t cut it anymore.  In order to protect your lifestyle no matter what happens, you have to cover a lot of bases.

The risk
Forced to retire before you’re ready. Maybe you’ve planned to work until you are 55, but your company has other ideas. Roughly two of every five people retire before they planned to.

The Fix
You need a back-up plan. That include a little side business that enables you to make some money if you are forced out of your job – anything from consulting to running errands for neighbours. And it could also include going on a tighter budget, at least for a few years. Knowing that you could downsize your home or cut back on some travel or auto spending in a pinch could see you through those early years.

The risk
You could live long and prosper. It costs a lot of money, month in and month out, to live a very long time and stay healthy and independent.

The fix
Invest like a younger person. Don’t avoid the stock market altogether and lock up all of your funds in bonds and bank accounts when you retire. Some money should be invested for growth.

The risk
You could live long and need a lot of help. If you end up with a chronic disease and require years of a daily care, medical insurance would only be helpful at the margin. Assisted living facilities that cost RM17,798 or more a month will blow through that retirement nest egg.

The fix
Save as much as possible all through your retirement so you have a solid chunk of cash left at the end. If you need to use it for care, you can. You could also buy a long-term care policy that would cover the care. That would allow you to save less along the the way.
(Source: Personal Money)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Panduan Perabot Tahan Lama

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Fabrik
  1. Mengupah pencuci profesional untuk membersihkan sofa cara terbaik tetapi seminggu sekali menggunakan penyedut hampagas pasti membantu mengurangkan masalah habuk di atas dan bawah sofa.
  2. Sekiranya sarung kusyen itu boleh digunakan kedua-dua belah, terbalikkan ia setiap minggu selepas menyedut habuk dengan penyedut hampagas.
  3. Jangan sesekali memberus fabrik dengan berus dawai atau sabut kasar kerana ia akan merosakkan tekstur fabrik.
  4. Tepuk kusyen dan selalu terbalikkan ia supaya kekal lembut dan sekata.
  5. Lindungi fabrik daripada pancaran matahari secara langsung kerana itu boleh melunturkan warna fabrik.
  6. Jauhi haiwan peliharaan daripada perabot upholsteri. Bau air kencing dan tanda minyak haiwan sukar hilang.
  7. Tukar susunan perabot upholsteri supaya kadar pengunaannya sama.
  8. Berhati-hati bila memakai pakaian yang warnanya mudah luntur kerana boleh melekat pada fabrik.
  9. Elak tidur di atas sofa atau membiarkan anak-anak melompat kerana boleh mengendurkan keanjalan fabriknya.
  10. Guna pencuci bersesuaian mengikut jenis fabrik.
 Kayu
  1. Angkat perabot yang kurang menarik.
  2. Buang habuk setiap hari untuk mengelak sebarang benda melekat atau perabot tergores. Guna kain lembut seperti kemeja T atau lampin bayi lama.
  3. Bersihkan sebarang sisa tumpah dengan segera. Guna cara memekap, bukan cara mengesat.
  4. Kilatkan kayu dua tiga bulan sekali untuk menaikkan serinya semula.
  5. Jangan letak perabot di bawah pancaran matahari. Ini boleh merosakkan kayu, meluntur warna atau merekah. Elok guna langsir atau bidai pada tingkap untuk mengelak pancaran matahari masuk ke dalam rumah secara terus dan kena perabot.
  6. Berhati-hati ketika menyedut habuk pada hamparan supaya tidak terlanggar kaki kerusi atau meja kayu. Jangan memotong atau menjatuhkan garfu atau sebarang benda tajam di atas permukaan meja kayu. Lap segera sebarang bekas sisa makanan.
  7. Kerap menukar posisi perabot. Perabot kayu juga perlu `bernafas`, justeru sesekali alih sebarang benda seperti televisyen atau rhiasan dari permukaannya.
  8. Elak melapik permukaan meja kayu dengan plastik atau alas pinggan dalam jangka masa yang lama.
  9. Guna kain atau alas untuk melindungi permukaan meja dari terkena pinggan panas atau bekas bunga dan minuman.
  10. Baiki sebarang kerosakan pada kayu semasa masih kecil. Guna bahan yang sesuai atau panggil tukang untuk membaikinya.
 Barangan Lain

Kaca – Kebanyakan perabot sekarang adalah paduan kayu dan kaca. Disebabkan ada bahan pencuci kayu yang tidak sesuai dengan kaca, seeloknya guna produk dwi-fungsi yang dibuat khusus untuk kedua-duanya.

Vinil – Kekotoran seperti habuk dan bekas jari mudah melekat pada perabot jenis upholsteri vinil. Lap perlahan dengan sabun lembut dan air. Lap kering dengan kain lembut. Jangan guna pencuci kasar.

Logam dan besi tempawan – Logam seperti krom dan besi tahan karat boleh dicuci dengan sabut lembut dan air . Keringkan segera. Kerap membuang habuk dan kilatkan selalu.

Tembaga – Cuci dengan sabun lembut air air. Elak guna pencuci tembaga kerana boleh merosakkan kemasan lakuer.

Batu – Lap sebarang tumpahan dengan segera kerana cecair mudah menyerap. Lap ikut ira batu.

Plastik – Perabot plastik mudah pudar dan rosak jika kerap digunakan. Supaya plastik kelihatan baru dan tidak rosak, cuci dan kilatkan selalu. Pilihan bahan cuci yang sesuai boleh memanjangkan usianya.

Marmar – Sebarang kekotoran yang melekat pada kayu boleh merosakkan marmar juga. Bersihkan segera. Gunakan pengilat bermutu tinggi dan baca label dengan baik.

Akrilik – Permukaan kebanyakan perabot akrilik kalis kotor tetapi mudah tergores. Guna kain lembut, sabun dan air untuk mencuci.

(Sumber: Anjung Seri)

Pahala Solat Subuh

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Sesungguhnya apabila solat Subuh dikerjakan, maka Allah akan melindungi siapa saja yang mengerjakannya seharian penuh. Rasulullah SAW bersabda yang maksudnya: “Barang siapa yang menunaikan solat Subuh, maka ia berada dalam jaminan Allah. Maka janganlah cuba-cuba membuat Allah membuktikan janji-Nya. Barang siapa yang membunuh orang yang menunaikan solat Subuh, Allah SWT akan menuntutnya, sehingga Allah SWT akan membenamkan mukanya ke dalam neraka.” (Hadis riwayat Muslim, at-Termizi dan Ibn Majah)

Muhammad Abdur Rauf al-Munawi dalam kitabnya at-Ta’arif menegaskan, as-Subhu atau as-Sabah adalah permulaan siang hari, iaitu ketika ufuk berwarna merah jingga di langit tertutup oleh tabir matahari. Adapun solat Subuh ibadat yang dilaksanakan ketika fajar siddiq dan berakhir pada waktu matahari terbit.

Solat Subuh memiliki banyak daya tarikan kerana kedudukannya dalam Islam dan nilainya yang tinggi dalam syariat. Banyak hadis mendorong untuk melaksanakan solat Subuh serta menyanjung mereka yang menjaga dan mengerjakannya.

Rasulullah SAW mengetahui waktu Subuh adalah waktu yang sangat sulit dan payah untuk bangun dari tidur. Seorang Muslim bila dibiarkan begitu saja (tertidur), akan memilih untuk merehatkan dirinya sampai terjaga hingga terbit matahari dan meninggalkan solat Subuh, atau ‘Subuh gajah’, iaitu dikerjakan solat Subuh tidak pada waktunya yang betul.

Rasulullah SAW mengkhususkan solat subuh dengan beberapa keistimewaan tunggal dan sifat tertentu yang tidak ada pada solat lain. Banyak keutamaan dan kelebihan yang didapati di waktu subuh.

Salah satu keutamaannya adalah Rasulullah SAW mendoakan umatnya yang bergegas dalam melaksanakan solat Subuh, sebagaimana disebutkan dalam hadis: “Ya Allah, berkatilah umatku selama mereka suka bangun subuh (iaitu mengerjakannya).” (Hadis riwayat Termizi, Abu Daud, Ahmad dan Ibnu Majah)

Jika Rasulullah SAW yang berdoa, maka tidak ada hijab di antara Baginda dengan Allah SWT kerana Baginda sendiri adalah orang yang secara jasadiyah paling dekat dengan Allah SWT.

Waktu Subuh adalah waktu yang paling baik untuk mendapatkan rahmat dan keredaan Allah SWT. Allah SWT berfirman maksudnya: “Dan bersabarlah kamu bersama-sama dengan orang-orang yang menyeru Tuhannya di pagi dan senja hari dengan mengharap keredaan-Nya, dan janganlah kedua matamu berpaling daripada mereka kerana mengharapkan perhiasan duniawi, dan janganlah kamu mengikuti orang yang hatinya sudah Kami lalaikan daripada mengingati Kami, serta menuruti hawa nafsunya dan adalah keadaannya itu melampaui batas.” (Surah al-Kahfi, ayat 28)

Dalam hadis riwayat Imam at-Termizi: “Dari Aisyah telah bersabda Rasulullah SAW, dua rakaat solat Fajar pahalanya lebih indah daripada dunia dan seisinya.”

Begitulah keistimewaan solat Subuh. Apakah yang menghalang kita untuk menyingkap selimut dan mengakhiri tidur untuk melakukan solat Subuh? Bukankah solat Subuh menjadi bahagian yang begitu besar kemuliaannya dibandingkan dunia dan seisinya?

Diriwayatkan Muslim daripada Usman bin Affan berkata, Rasulullah SAW bersabda yang maksudnya:
Barang siapa yang solat Isyak berjemaah maka seolah-olah dia telah solat setengah malam, barang siapa solat Subuh berjemaah, maka seolah-olah dia telah melaksanakan solat malam satu malam penuh.” (Hadis riwayat Muslim).

Solat Subuh adalah sumber daripada segala cahaya pada hari kiamat. Di hari itu, semua sumber cahaya di dunia akan padam. Matahari akan digulung, ibadat yang akan menerangi pelakunya.

Diriwayatkan daripada Abu Musa al-Asyaari, dia berkata Rasulullah SAW bersabda yang maksudnya: “Barang siapa yang solat dua waktu yang dingin, maka akan masuk syurga.” (Hadis riwayat Bukhari). Dua waktu yang dingin itu adalah solat Subuh dan Asar.

Mereka yang menjaga solat Subuh dan Asar dijanjikan kelak di syurga akan melihat Allah SWT. Rasulullah SAW bersabda yang bermaksud: “Kami sedang duduk bersama Rasulullah SAW, ketika melihat bulan purnama. Baginda berkata, “Sungguh kamu akan melihat Rabb (Allah), sebagaimana kamu melihat bulan yang tidak terhalang dalam memandangnya. Apabila kamu mampu, janganlah kamu menyerah dalam melakukan solat sebelum terbit matahari dan solat sebelum terbenam matahari. Maka lakukanlah.” (Hadis riwayat Bukhari dan Muslim)

Semoga kita tetap menjaga dan memelihara solat Subuh seperti dijanjikan Allah. Bergegas bangun tidur apabila terdengar laungan azan berkumandang untuk segera mengerjakan solat Subuh.

Tips Menjaga Solat Subuh
  • Ikhlas niat hanya kerana Allah SWT, dan berikanlah hak-hakNya.
  • Bertekad dan muhasabah diri anda setiap hari.
  • Bertaubat dari dosa-dosa dan berniatlah untuk tidak mengulangi kembali.
  • Perbanyaklah membaca doa agar Allah memberi kesempatan untuk solat Subuh.
  • Carilah kawan yang baik untuk saling membantu mengingatkan Solat Subuh di Masjid.
  • Latihlah untuk tidur dengan cara yang diajarkan Rasulullah. (tidur awal, berwudhu sebelum tidur, miring ke kanan, berdoa.)
  • Sampaikan pada orang lain akan gaya hidup anda yang baru.
  • Sedikitkan makan sebelum tidur serta jauhilah teh dan kopi pada malam hari.
 "Jadikan Al-Quran Sebagai Teman Hidup Di dunia dan Rakan Yang Mesra Di Dalam Kubur"

Solat Sunat Subuh

Antara solat sunat yang sangat dituntut adalah solat sunat subuh. Ada riwayat mengatakan bahawa Rasulullah sangat menjaga solat sunat subuh ini walau pun terlewat untuk mengerjakan solat subuh.

Diriwayatkan oleh Imam Muslim dengan sanadnya daripada Saiyidah Aishah r.a., isteri Rasulullah SAW, bahawa Baginda telah bersabda:
"Solat dua rakaat (sebelum) Solat Subuh itu lebih baik daripada dunia dan segala isi buminya".

Dan diriwayatkan oleh Saiyidah Aishah juga bahawa Rasulullah SAW bersabda lagi berkenaan solat dua rakaat ini:
"Dua rakaat ini lebih aku sukai daripada segala isi dunia."

Dan diriwayatkan lagi oleh Saiyidah Aishah r.a. bahawa Rasulullah SAW mengambil berat mengenai mengerjakan Solat Sunat Subuh lebih daripada yang lain-lain.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Selamat Tinggal Stesen Keretapi Tanjung Pagar

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Stesen Keretapi Tanjung Pagar yang berkeluasan 217 hektar telah dibina pada 1918 di Keppel Road bagi menggantikan terminal keretapi pertama di Tank Road.

Melalui Perjanjian 1918, Kerajaan Singapura bersetuju memajakkan tanah itu kepada Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB) untuk tempoh 999 tahun. Menurut perjanjian itu KTMB hanya dibenarkan menggunakan tanah berkenaan bagi tujuan perkhidmatan keretapi. Jika KTMB tidak memerlukannya lagi, tanah tersebut perlu dikembalikan kepada Singapura. Perjanjian itu turut melibatkan laluan landasan sepanjang kira-kira 30 kilometer yang merentasi bahagian tengah pulau berkenaan.

Bangunan stesen yang dipengaruhi oleh ciri-ciri kesenian stesen keretapi Helsinki, Finland ini direka oleh Eliel Saarinen. Pintu masuk ke stesen dihiasi dengan ukiran empat menara patung yang melambangkan sosioekonomi Tanah Melayu ketika itu iaitu pertanian, perdagangan, pengangkutan dan perindustrian. Stesen ini juga pernah mempunyai hotel untuk memberi kemudahan penginapan kepada para pelancong.

Suatu ketika dahulu, stesen keretapi ini sibuk kerana kebanyakan orang masih memilih perkhidmatan tren untuk pergi ke Kuala Lumpur, utara mahupun pantai timur Semenanjung. Ia juga dilengkapi dengan medan selera, bilik mandi dan gerai jualan.

Apabila perkhidmatan tren mewah Eastern & Oriental Express diperkenalkan, ia berjaya menarik lebih ramai penumpang yang memilih stesen itu sebagai tempat memulakan perjalanan ke stesen lain. 

Stesen Tanjung Pagar pernah digunakan untuk penggambaran filem-filem arahan P. Ramlee seperti Ibu Mertuaku dan Anakku Sazali.

Stesen itu melakar sejarah awal perkhidmatan keretapi dari Tanah Melayu ke Singapura. Walaupun terletak di negara lain, ia merupakan pintu masuk ke negara ini bagi mereka yang memilih memasuki Malaysia dari Singapura menggunakan perkhidmatan keretapi. Ia juga adalah hentian keretapi terakhir dalam jaringan pengangkutan keretapi di benua Asia.

Namun kini stesen berusia 92 tahun itu tinggal sebagai monumen sejarah kerana perkhidmatan KTMB telah dipindahkan ke Pusat Pemeriksaan Keretapi Woodlands (WTCP).
 (Diadaptasi dari rencana keluaran Majalah Holistik) 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Greening The Farm

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The consequences of climate change that we are now experiencing is the cumulative result of many years of environmentally harmful human activities including modern agricultural practises.

As such, it is never too soon for the local agticultural sector to toe the green line by adopting nature-friendly farming technology and methods as practiced in many developed countries.

Malaysian Agriculture Research and Development Institute (MARDI), is attempting to address many of the environmental problems associated with agricultural production in the country through its R&D initiatives.

Pathogens for pests
The haphazard use of pesticides is one of the most contentious conventions in modern agriculture as it can have a toxic effect on the environment and human health. Proper use of pesticides can reduce the threat of environmental harm. There are non-synthetic alternatives such as biopesticides that can rid crops of pests without adversely affecting the environment and humans.   

The biopesticides being developed by MARDI are derived from beneficial microbes including bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Recently, MARDI launched a virus based biopesticide to control armyworms. Armyworms feed mostly on leaves and when they attack food crops, a single insect can wipe out the entire plant in just one hour.

All living things are susceptile to some form of virus and the armyworm is no  exception. Most larvae including the armyworm will die after some time because of infection from the nuclear polyhedrosis virus (NPV).  

MARDI is also in the midst of developing a non-chemical herbicide to destroy barnyard grass, a weed that can significantly hinder rice yields. Barnyard grass is susceptible to a fungus called Exserohilum. MARDI researchers isolate the fungus from naturally infected barnyard grass and use it as an ingredient to formulate a biological control agent against the weed.

Waste not
Agro waste takes a few months to rot. Our farmers do not have the luxury of time as they will need to clear the land for the next planting season, which is why they end up burning the waste. This method not only causes pollution, but also causes accidents because the highway is covered by thick smoke.

This is where microbes come in useful again as they can help accelerate the process of decomposition. Some of the microbes that are used to convert agro waste into biofertiliser can also fix nitrogen from the air making it suitable for use in the soil.

Nevertheless, while the use of microbes has proven to be successfuyl when it comes to oil palm waste, waste from rice is different.

The straw of the rice has very high silicone levels so it’s not palatable and its carbon content is also very low. The microbes don’t’t like it very much and if given to animals, they won’t eat it either.

For oil palm, there is a consortium of microbes that can effectively convert the waste into fertilizer. MARDI has the technology to mass produce these microbes. The microbes can get it done between one to one-and-a-half months depending on how many microbes you put in.

For rice, MARDI  have different types of microbes but they are still under experiment.The researchers are concentrating on rice now because it’s one of our biggest problems when it comes to pollution.

Foolproof farming
Huge amount of wastage occurs during the application of fertiliser on local fields and plantations. The practice thus far has been to administer the fertilizer in blanket fashion. This method puts the environment at risk as indiscriminate use of fertiliser can lead to contamination of the atmosphere and water bodies. 

Being a tropical country with extreme temperatures and hihg precipitation levels means that whatever we apply to the field will not get to the plant 100 percent.

Because of the chemical reactions that occur when there is a temperature increase, most of the fertilizer will get lost in the air. Where precipitaion is concerned, if you apply the fertiliser today and it rains this evening, it will all leach out.

The solution is to adopt a technology that has become a norm in many developed countries. In this method called precision farming, the plant is given only what it requires. The soil is analysed to establish what is already available, and then top it up to meet he plant’s requirements. After that, using Variable Rate Technology (VRT) on machine mounted sensors, the exact amount of fertiliser required is applied to the precise area of the soil where it is needed.       

Sometimes we don’t even need to apply anything to the soil nut because we don’t know the status of the soil, we keep on applying fertiliser and this can cause the soil to become toxic. Not only precision help us prevent wastage and environmental damage, financially, it is also a tremendous saving.

Alternative energy
Using animal waste to generate energy for farming activities is also cost effective practice in agriculture. With the price of energy on the rise, biogas from animal waste is a practical energy source for powering farm machinery and equipment.
(Source: NST)