Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Chasing shadows and concluding Mary sans Mathematics

Well I had been rather busy for the last three weeks, mostly chasing shadows at my workplace, as some top management guys came to realize that I have not been given a task or tasks relevant to my previous experiences or that I was not placed where I can contribute more to the company. With recent change in top management at my workplace, I am no longer required to expend some of my energy in chasing shadows - what the famous footballing Germans were accused of doing in that fateful 2010 World Cup Semifinal game against the equally famous Spanish football team.

If some of you are wondering as to what exactly is my work in the Oil &Gas company.. What is so important that I have to be recalled back after the retirement and given a contract to continue working?. Psst.. I was not that good.. it is partly due to the fact that there are so many of us, geoscientists quitting the company to chase the rainbows in Arabian Peninsular and that neighbourhood.
Here is a small glimpse of what I have been doing/will be doing while I am still in the Oil & Gas company.. I am a geophysicist first, a geo-scientist second and a team leader most of the times..
As geophysicist, I am one of those weirdos who derived tremendous pleasures looking at seismic (sound-waves) wiggles/traces on seismic record/section, then I correlate millions of those seismic traces, correlate subsurface faults and come up with subsurface (ground or earth below the sea for our malaysian petroleum system) maps. From these maps, I make conclusion (based on geological knowledge and understanding of the area) as to whether the area have the potential to accumulate oil or gas. Proposal to drill an exploration well will generally follows based on estimated resource (hydrocarbon in place) that is economically viable to be developed. At times, the geophysicists can be so engrossed in looking at faults and other seismics thingy that they are also called "the faults finder".. he.. he


As a geoscientist, I relate these geophysical thingy to others from different disciplines such as geology, geochemistry as well as other geos.. to conjure the subsurface/ the mother earth to the engineers and people in the management.. in our attempts to optimally exploit hydrocarbon discovered or to be discovered. As a team leader, I got to lead a team of geo-scientists and sometime engineers to accomplish the same.
Hopefully I do not confuse you too badly this time around..
After my office hours before sunset, I have been busy helping my friend in his Ampang office, supporting him whenever and whatever possible so as not to let his business be overwhelmed by other peoples looking for quick routes to make super quick bucks. I even took annual leave to accompany him to see clients outside the capital. He is now promoting "hydroponics sprouting of fodder grass" to help reduce cattle fatality rates. If I understand it correctly, the hydroponics might help farmers in Malaysia to grow as many as 400 head of cattle on an ecologically ... sound, simple yet efficient.. 20 acres site..
Hydroponic sprouting of fodder grass system

Some of the days, after sunset.. I got down to help one of my in-laws business, selling second hand cars. I have sold one of my car last month and last night I sent my latest car ( he helped me to import it last month) to his house in Klang as he has friends who wanted to see the car today. He is trying to quit his current job in used cars importing firms now that he is no longer allowed to do the line of work he has been doing for the past +10 years. He took/will get commission for the sale and will be paid for handling tasks related to Puspakom, registration and etc.

Mini Cooper S
On the home front, my children have been taking over the computer and lap-top: chatting with their friends, playing computer games, FB and what-not, most of the time they were fully aware that they are depriving their father of an opportunity to update his blog. Weekends have been fully scheduled for buying daily need, chasing curtain materials and baju raya at those never-ending pre-Hari Raya sales in department stores and superstores, attending kenduries , fulfilling children needs and entertaining friends as well as the in-laws.

For quite some time I had been toying with the idea of putting up a post on some experiences I have had with peoples’ fight with cancer (in line with the demise of our beloved blogger friend, Raden Galoh) but then.. there was a cheramah at my Ampang Campuran Mosque, last Sunday morning on Transliteration of Al-Quran and the texts discussed were from surah Maryam (Mary) verses (16-26). That cheramah somehow change my mind and made me want to give some sort of conclusion to the previous post.

So here I am, skipping normal lunch which has been my habit for almost a year now(since quitting my cigarettes smoking), putting this entry as a continuation of the previous post.. a peace offering of sort to non-mathematically inclined readers... I did not expect such a good feedback on that mathematically inclined post. Honestly, that was my only one mathematical instance worthy of posting. I have no more mathematical equations to impress or baffle some of my intelligent blogging friends.

I was sort of overwhelmed by all the facts that some of the readers put up in their comments on my previous posting. I am hoping that this post will get some readers some perspectives on Mary, a very highly respected lady in Islamic religion as well as to conclude the topics related to her or her son that might be sensitive to some readers (please accept my apologies).

Below are verses of Al-Quran taken from the Surah Maryam or Mary.. a chapter in our Holy book - named after her. May God be please with her..

Relate in the Book (the story of) Mary, when she withdrew from her family to a place in the East. 019.016

She placed a screen (to screen herself) from them; then We sent her our angel, and he appeared before her as a man in all respects. 019.017

She said: “I seek refuge from thee to (Allah) Most Gracious: (come not near) if thou dost fear Allah.” 019.018

He said: “Nay, I am only a messenger from thy Lord, (to announce) to thee the gift of a holy son. 019.019.

She said: “How shall I have a son, seeing that no man has touched me, and I am not unchaste?” 019.020

He said: “So (it will be): Thy Lord saith, ‘that is easy for Me: and (We wish) to appoint him as a Sign unto men and a Mercy from Us’:It is a matter (so) decreed.” 019.021.

So she conceived him, and she retired with him to a remote place. 019.022.

And the pains of childbirth drove her to the trunk of a palm-tree: She cried (in her anguish): “Ah! would that I had died before this! would that I had been a thing forgotten and out of sight!” 019.023

But (a voice) cried to her from beneath the (palm-tree): “Grieve not! for thy Lord hath provided a rivulet beneath thee; 019.024

“And shake towards thyself the trunk of the palm-tree: It will let fall fresh ripe dates upon thee. 019.025:

“So eat and drink and cool (thine) eye. And if thou dost see any man, say, ‘I have vowed a fast to (Allah) Most Gracious, and this day will I enter into not talk with any human being’” 019.026

At length she brought the (babe) to her people, carrying him (in her arms). They said: “O Mary! truly an amazing thing hast thou brought! 019.027

“O sister of Aaron! Thy father was not a man of evil, nor thy mother a woman unchaste!” 019.028

But she pointed to the babe. They said: “How can we talk to one who is a child in the cradle?” 019.029

He said: “I am indeed a servant of Allah: He hath given me revelation and made me a prophet; 019.030

“And He hath made me blessed wheresoever I be, and hath enjoined on me Prayer and Charity as long as I live; 019.031

“(He) hath made me kind to my mother, and not overbearing or miserable; 019.032

“So peace is on me the day I was born, the day that I die, and the day that I shall be raised up to life (again)”! 019.033

Such (was) Jesus the son of Mary: (it is) a statement of truth, about which they (vainly) dispute. 019.034

It is not befitting to (the majesty of) Allah that He should beget a son. Glory be to Him! when He determines a matter, He only says to it, “Be”, and it is. 019.035

Verily Allah is my Lord and your Lord: Him therefore serve ye: this is a Way that is straight. 019.036

Have a good week ahead..

Monday, July 5, 2010

Mary, Jesus, Abraham, Real Mathematics and a head-ache

There are occasions in life that we simply could not erase from our memory and one of that occasions was the time when I have discussions with my close buddy scientist in our "search for truth" back in my early working days.

Note: Non-Muslim readers are much-welcomed to read but may find the content is a tad too "Islamic". For your easy reading the words/paragraphs in italics are from Yusof Abdullah Ali's interpretation of Al-Quranic verses.

Behold! the angels said: “O Mary! Allah hath chosen thee and purified thee- chosen thee above the women of all nations. 3.42

“O Mary! worship Thy Lord devoutly: Prostrate thyself, and bow down (in prayer) with those who bow down.” 3.43.

This is part of the tidings of the things unseen, which We reveal unto thee (O Messenger!) by inspiration: Thou wast not with them when they cast lots with arrows, as to which of them should be charged with the care of Mary: Nor wast thou with them when they disputed (the point). 3.44

Behold! the angels said: “O Mary! Allah giveth thee glad tidings of a Word from Him: his name will be Christ Jesus, the son of Mary, held in honour in this world and the Hereafter and of (the company of) those nearest to Allah; 3. 45

“He shall speak to the people in childhood and in maturity. And he shall be (of the company) of the righteous.” 3. 46.

She said: “O my Lord! How shall I have a son when no man hath touched me?” He said: “Even so: Allah createth what He willeth: When He hath decreed a plan, He but saith to it, ‘Be,’ and it is! 3.47

“‘And Allah will teach him the Book and Wisdom, the Law(Torah) and the Gospel, 3.48

“‘And (appoint him) a messenger to the Children of Israel, (with this message): “‘I have come to you, with a Sign from your Lord, in that I make for you out of clay, as it were, the figure of a bird, and breathe into it, and it becomes a bird by Allah’s leave: And I heal those born blind, and the lepers, and I quicken the dead, by Allah’s leave; and I declare to you what ye eat, and what ye store in your houses. Surely therein is a Sign for you if ye did believe; 3.49

“‘(I have come to you), to attest the Law which was before me. And to make lawful to you part of what was (Before) forbidden to you; I have come to you with a Sign from your Lord. So fear Allah, and obey me. 3.50

“‘It is Allah Who is my Lord and your Lord; then worship Him. This is a Way that is straight.’” 3.51

When Jesus found Unbelief on their part He said: “Who will be My helpers to (the work of) Allah?” Said the disciples: “We are Allah’s helpers: We believe in Allah, and do thou bear witness that we are Muslims. 3.52

“Our Lord! we believe in what Thou hast revealed, and we follow the Messenger; then write us down among those who bear witness.” 3. 53

And (the unbelievers) plotted and planned, and Allah too planned, and the best of planners is Allah. 3.54

Behold! Allah said: “O Jesus! I will take thee and raise thee to Myself and clear thee (of the falsehoods) of those who blaspheme; I will make those who follow thee superior to those who reject faith, to the Day of Resurrection: Then shall ye all return unto me, and I will judge between you of the matters wherein ye dispute. 3.55

“As to those who reject faith, I will punish them with terrible agony in this world and in the Hereafter, nor will they have anyone to help.” 3.56

“As to those who believe and work righteousness, Allah will pay them (in full) their reward; but Allah loveth not those who do wrong.” 3.57

“This is what we rehearse unto thee of the Signs and the Message of Wisdom.” 3.58

The similitude of Jesus before Allah is as that of Adam; He created him from dust, then said to him: “Be”. And he was. 3.59

The Truth (comes) from Allah alone; so be not of those who doubt. 3.60

Ye People of the Book! Why dispute ye about Abraham, when the Law (Torah) and the Gospel Were not revealed Till after him? Have ye no understanding? 3. 65

Ah! Ye are those who fell to disputing (Even) in matters of which ye had some knowledge! but why dispute ye in matters of which ye have no knowledge? It is Allah Who knows, and ye who know not! 3. 66

Abraham was not a Jew nor yet a Christian; but he was true in Faith, and bowed his will to Allah’s (Which is Islam), and he joined not gods with Allah. 3.67


In Real Mathematics, there is such thing as “complete set” and it goes on to say that a null set i.e. a set that contain nothing is a complete set. For those who are keen on history of mathematics, they may remember that the early mathematicians have problem with the concept of “nothingness” hence the allure attached to null set. I was told that the Arabs are the one who came and add the number “zero”.

So again talking about real mathematics
Thus a total set of two objects A and B is exactly four sets.
1. A set containing both A and B i.e.{A, B}
2. A set containing only A, no B i.e.{A, 0}
3. A set containing only B, no A i.e.{0, B}
4. A set containing nothing, neither A nor B i.e.{0, 0}.

Back in early 1980, there was a devout Christian worker who preached the Chinese ladies in my department. I used to have a lot of religious discussion on the subject of Jesus with him. I remembered using the concept of real mathematics similar to the above: replacing A as father and B as mother to explain a complete set of mankind to him:-

1. A set containing both father and mother i.e. {F, M} -> most human
2. A set containing only father, no mother i.e. {F, 0} ->Eve
3. A set containing only mother, no father i.e. {0, M} ->Jesus
4. A set containing neither father nor mother i.e. {0, 0} ->Adam.

Using the concept of real mathematics thus results in:
A complete set of human being that has the elements of father and mother is exactly four sets.

The above also hold that the creation of Jesus from a mother, without a father is similar to the creation of Eve from Adam without a mother.

Going along the same argument, the creation of Adam from neither father nor mother is more miraculous than that of Jesus and Eve.

Unfortunately, although the scientist in him made him believed that mathematics, since time immemorial, has been used by human being to solve all their daily problem, he insisted that the same rationale has no bearing on theology. My argument “that religions should also be logical to human mind” holds no water to him.

The other argument that used to give my preaching friend a “head-ache” was a question on what happened to those Prophets (such Abraham, Noah, Job and Moses for examples) who did not know Jesus as such does not pray through/to Jesus. He normally answered that those Prophets should know as it was in “Genesis” and I did not normally able to ask him on book of Genesis to add more head-ache to that friend of mine or perhaps to give a head-ache to myself as well.

Have a sound “real mathematical” week and please take good care of yourself.