1,000-Year-Old Muslim Joke Book Found

30 November 2012



An 11th-century book by a revered Baghdad Muslim scholar turns out to be a tongue-in-cheek guide for party crashers, according to the researcher who translated the book into English.

The tome was originally authored by al-Khatib al-Baghdadi, a well known scholar of the Prophet Mohammed’s teachings.

According to Emily Selove of the University of Manchester, who did the translation, he wrote the book to remind readers “that every serious minded person needs to take a break.”

She continued, “This book, which contains flirtation, profanity, and even a little drunkenness, is a lot of fun and offers a rather different perspective to the austere image Islam has from that period. The reality is that the Baghdad of 1,000 years ago was actually rather Bohemian — it wasn’t perfect by any means — but not the violent and repressive society you might imagine it was.”

“Such ignorance is probably down to the fact that so little of the huge body of literature produced at that time has been translated into English. There’s so much more to do.”

Selove, however, added, “Though it’s light and really quite an enjoyable read, there are serious messages too. The book is about generosity and encouraging individuals to express themselves eloquently and clearly.”

“It also suggests that turning a hungry person away from a place laden with food was cruel — as food was sometimes in short supply to the poor. It castigated those who turned gate crashers away from parties as misers. You do not turn people away if they are hungry.”

(more at the link above)


Default to Kindness by Ian Walsh

28 November 2012

A remarkable article by Ian Walsh, one of my favorite bloggers:



Default to Kindness

If there is one policy point I’d like to make it isn’t a policy point, it’s an ethical one: default to kindness.

Or try kindness first.

In policy terms, the kind thing to do is usually the right thing to do.  I’d go so far as to say, almost always.

Treating prisoners with kindness nets Finland half the recidivism rate the US, with its punitive prisons gets.  That is, only half as many prisoners, once released, commit a crime in Finland.

Single payer or comprehensive universal healthcare has costs about a third less than the US system, and produces better results.

Not committing war crimes makes people much less interested in killing you.  Not torturing enemies means they are far less likely to torture your people.

(more at the link above)


PS: I agree with many things he wrote, but I still support death penalty.

A hobby of mine

28 November 2012

Other people collect stamps, butterflies, coins, etc.

I collect banned books (i.e., banned by Malaysian authorities). Collecting the English books in the list is not very challenging because they are all available for purchase online. I prefer to collect the Malay-language books because it is much harder to come across one. If you have any, and would want to sell to me, please send me an email. I just purchased one this morning 🙂

Just in case you’re wondering: Don’t worry I will not become sesat — collecting these books doesn’t mean I agree with their contents. I am not a child, I am mature enough to think for myself.

Voynich Manuscript

27 November 2012

The whole text: http://beinecke.library.yale.edu/digitallibrary/voynich.html

What is the Voynich Manuscript?


Education Talent Academy — now taking applications!!

18 November 2012

Please visit the website: www.EducationTalentAcademy.com



Education Talent Academy is now accepting applications for its 2013 class. Looking for students in KL—Form 4 to Pre-U in 2013—who are academically talented, curious and passionate. We are taking a step towards a revolutionary education environment, where learning is fun and students are encouraged to think!

My Amazon Wishlist

15 November 2012

Hello readers,

This is my Amazon wishlist:


(If you cannot reach my wishlist, just look up Suhaimi Ramly or my Gmail address on the Amazon Wishlist page.)

These are the books that I want to read and own by next year. I will eventually buy all of them InsyaAllah, but if you want to help, I’d really appreciate it 🙂

If you want to buy any book as a gift to me, please buy it directly from my Amazon Wishlist page by clicking “Add to Cart”. Amazon will keep track of the books that have been bought and direct it to my mailing address, so I won’t get duplicates. Of course, you can buy more than one book 🙂

My birthday is in late December, so you can also send these books as birthday gifts.

Currently there are about 60-70 items in the list, and it’s growing by day. Some of the books I really want (rated Highest or High priority), and some would probably go to the back of my reading queue (rated Lowest or Low priority). Some are cheap, and some are expensive — especially hard-to-find titles and multivolume sets. The books have widely divergent subject matters.

I haven’t done Amazon Wishlisting since 2004, so I hope to get more responses this time 🙂 Many thanks in advance to those who will support my coke book habit.

Pinball Number Count

7 November 2012

As a child, I would wait everyday for Sesame Street go on TV, just so I can catch all the numbered segments in the Pinball song (they only showed one or two segments per episode).

Many years later, thanks to Youtube I finally get to see all the numbers from 1 to 12 in one go:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 ELEVEN TWELVE!

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