Realizing Prophet Job’s Lessons

The grave of Prophet Job is in the northwest part of Salalah Oman. It is in the peak of Jabal Atin and is reachable with a road trip taking Ayn Jarziz.

The typical road in Salalah Oman.

While my brother is busy driving, I was busy taking snaps from the road side view. On the way to Job’s tomb.

Another road side snap while the car is fast moving.

The herd of camels. They are often called the ‘Kings of the road’ as you will need to stop and slowly drive when you see them crossing or walking on the roads. Taken inside the car while I was watching them passing us.

Prior our journey to visit Prophet Job’s tomb, I was contemplating on how the grave and the place will look like and how will it impact my view on the side of faith.

Inside the area where Prophet Job is buried is this small mosque.

The entrance to the mosque.

A simple sign asking for a little respect wouldn’t hurt to follow.

After the mosque is where Prophet Job lies.

He manages the area and I was surprised that he joined us during the photo shoots.

Prophet Job is an iconic figure in the following religions:

  • in Islam he is known as Nabi Ayoub and is present in the Quran;
  • in Jewish faith he is known as Nabi Iyov and is present in Tanakh;
  • in Christian faith he is known as Prophet Job and is present in the Old Testament.

Prophet Job’s footprint preserved.

I was born and raised in a Catholic family. The religion I grew up with came from roots of Judaism. History will give us a long story telling of how the religion started and how it became known to those countries who were colonized by Western Europeans (Spain & Portugal). Thanks to Emperor Constantine. And of course, the scholars may still be in the battle of minds regarding the faith of Christianity.

So I’ve known Prophet Job since I was a kid as part of school curriculum – to study the religion.

If there’s one notion of the prophet’s popularity is when we asked the question ‘Why do we need to suffer? And why did God allow suffering?’

The story of Prophet Job is pretty much universal to the above mentioned religions. He is a righteous and powerful man (a sheikh) and is loyal follower of God and does not complain on God’s will. His loyalty at heart paved the way for Satan to ask permission from God to test his loyal heart. God allowed it and Job and his family were ripped of their wealth. Job didn’t complain. Satan again ask permission to test him. God allowed it as long as no life will be taken. Job suffered from leprous sores. From a respected man he became penniless and avoided by people due to his disease. As I recall his story it is this time when Job started to question back God on why He allowed such misfortunes.

The tomb of Prophet Job.

The tomb of Prophet Job.

The tomb of Prophet Job.

All of us have suffered in our lives. We have undergone challenges and problems on those events we may have questioned the Big Guy up there why He allowed those things to happen. However, trials in life is what makes life worth living. The said trials is always the realization of ourselves, our capabilities and the acknowledgement of God.

Realizing Prophet Job’s lessons, I learned:

Suffering is a part of life and each suffering is bound to tell us of acknowledgments or lessons to ourselves and God’s presence.

God allows suffering to teach us of humility (learn to let go) and acknowledging Him. We sometimes believe that our current state is the result of our actions and behaviors. However, we should realized as well that we are spiritual in nature. We cannot explain why people come to our lives and events in our lives happen for specific reasons.

God as a loving father wouldn’t want people to hurt us. However, we have been given the gift of ‘Free Will‘ whereby people can choose freely what their heart desires. Sadly sometimes, people changes heart that doesn’t conform to our happiness.

Me with friends inside Prophet Job’s tomb.

I wish I know what was written in this board.

With my brother at Prophet Job’s tomb.

Surely the story of Prophet Job has its equivalent to my brethren in other religion.

Suffering is universal; however, we can always choose to follow God’s will and acknowledge Him.

The view outside the area of Prophet Job’s tomb.

The Salalah Oman travel blog still continues in the upcoming article…

Til next time. Au revoir.

Citations:

– Oman Tourism website: http://www.omantourism.gov.om

Travel Destination: Salalah, Oman

Oman is a middle economy country in the Middle East region with a geography of approximately 309, 500 sq. km. In its north is the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the northwest is Saudi Arabia and the southwest is Yemen.

The country is officially called Sultanate of Oman. And it is being headed by Sultan Qaboos. The country is heavily dependent on its export of oil.

Oman’s country GDP (purchasing power) is estimated to be USD 76.53 billion in 2010 with an estimated growth of 3.6% in 2010.

Oman’s tourism is currently on its turning point and generates increasing revenue.

Dhofar is the region that is in the southern part of Oman with its administrative capital is Salalah.

I had the privilege to travel to Salalah, Oman last December 2010 to visit my eldest brother. It was my first time to visit the middle east region. Initially I had the impression that I will need to wear the traditional Abaya, the dress that is being worn by the Muslim women in public. However, I learned that in Oman the foreign women does not require to wear Abaya.

My journey started via Emirates EK349 from Changi to Dubai then EK862 from Dubai to Muscat. Traveling alone can be challenging but few conversations with interesting people and catchup with my book readings eased up the boredom.

Gearing up for Oman. At Changi Airport for EK349. December 23, 2010.

Breakfast at Dubai International Airport. Tiramisu and Americano from Paul resto. December 24, 2010.

EK862 from Dubai to Muscat. December 24, 2010.

In Muscat airport there is a Premium Lounge available to everyone. If you are a holder of American Express and other known credit card issuers that came from the gulf region (GCC), you can use the lounge without a fee. Whilst for those that doesn’t hold credit card from the gulf can pay OMR 10.00 for 3 hours and OMR 15.00 for 5 hours stay. I stayed in the Premium lounge for 3 hours and I am amazed by their hospitality not to mention free wifi, food which changes every meal time, shower room, and nap rooms are available.

The Premium Lounge at Muscat Airport.

Muscat to Salalah is via OmanAir WY907. It was first time that I traveled with this carrier and I must say I am impressed with the flight.

Light meal with WY907. December 24, 2010.


Aerial view of Oman. On the way to Salalah. December 24, 2010.


I was impressed by Salalah’s safety to tourist. And the simplicity of life can be felt by tourist like myself.

By 5PM, the Omanis and Oman residents will start to have their evening coffee and chat with their friends.

The late afternoon and evening catchup are regardless of age.

The sea view of Salalah, Oman. Breath taking.

The sunset by the sea at Salalah, Oman.

Oman’s religion is majority Islam. As such, mosques can be seen everywhere in Salalah.

Sultan Qaboos Mosque is now completed. It is the grandest building in Salalah Oman.

The Omanis are very warm and friendly people. They accommodate foreigners and welcome them. Even the women are friendly. Together with my brother and friends, I was able to take a snap with Omani ladies.

Me with the fashionable Omani ladies. December 2010.

Arab men were also friendly. They’re warm with foreigners though we don’t know each other.

Arab guys who requested for a snap though we don’t know each other. Taken at Marriott Resort, December 2010.

The transportation in Oman is usually via private cars. The car models available in the car industry are always updated. For tourists, car rentals are very affordable and the models are updated. Even though we rented a car last December, 2010 but the car that was released to us was Nissan Tiida 2011 model. Impressive.

How about the car full tanked? Well, it was very surprising that the car full tanked in fuel only cost approximately SGD 12.00. Very amazed.

The rented car. Nissan Tiida 2011 with my brother inside.


The car rental business. The company who provided us with the updated car model.

During my Oman visit I enjoyed the middle eastern food. Shawarma from Dharbatt hotel (specialized in Turkish food) top notched combined with their Turkish coffee. Yummy.

And what could be best in Middle East but to taste the Kabab with its traditional salad, and Hummus, and the middle eastern bread. Couldn’t ask for more in dinner.

My brother and his buddy with our dinner – Kabab, salad, Hummus, and bread. Yum. yum. yum.

Shopping in Oman is cordial. Especially when you’re in search for gold jewelries. Though some would say gold in Oman is slightly higher in price in comparison to other gulf region, it is still lower in price when we’re comparing with outside of Middle East continent. Regardless of design, the amount is based on the gold weight.

My gold find and my remembrance. Three bangles and a set of earrings with necklace. Retail therapy completed.

Tourism in Salalah has improved and not surprisingly provides revenue for the state. If you’re into archeological sites, tombs of prophets, and frankincense, you will definitely enjoy Salalah.

For more information on Oman Tourism, you can visit http://www.omantourism.gov.om.

My travel went very well and I’m very thankful for my brother and the circle of friends who cordially went with us on our road trips and adventures.

Their smile and their faces. I owe them gratitude for my accommodation and stay at Salalah, Oman.

Me with my eldest brother in Prophet Job’s (Ayoub) Tomb. Taken December 25, 2010.


I had an unforgettable experience in Salalah, Oman. Needless to say, I had a sibling time with my brother whom due to age gap I wasn’t able to grew up with. Definitely a memorable experience. Surely I will visit again Salalah, Oman.

My travel was concluded with EK867 from Muscat to Dubai and EK348 from Dubai to Singapore.

Shukran Salalah Oman!

A continuation of this travel blog will be the upcoming article, Realizing Prophet Job’s Lesson.

Til next time. Au revoir.

Citations:

  • U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs June 2007, Background Note: Oman
  • Central Intelligence Agency, World Factbook Publication, Middle East: Oman


You’re Tagged And Analyzed

You walked in a supermarket looking for a pack of tissue as you are probably suffering from colds or for variety of reasons you need to get a tissue from that supermarket as it is the nearest store from you according to your location finder services or digital maps and GPS.

However, you spent thirty minutes walking around the supermarket searching for the tissues section and you walked away empty handed as you went impatient and just decided to search and try your luck from other shops.

You ended up frustrated and the supermarket may have loose their opportunity for you to be their loyal customer.

If the supermarket would have just placed some retails of facial tissues within the cashier counter you would have noticed it and bought it and you will praise the marketing of the supermarket as they have done good job and satisfied your need at that moment.

Analyzing what happened would lead us to realize that there was the gap between the customer and the business. There is the probability that the supermarket didn’t have a built in analytics system in their process.

Analytics – the process of solving problems based on existing set of data has been used by technology to solve business problems and create competitive advantage.

Majority of the business players invest in analytics software in order to analyze their customers, create trends, and most of all discover new demographics.

Caesar Salad with grilled chicken at Mc Donald’s in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Now this encounter is impressive.

It is all about consumer behavior and patterns.

And technology has been evolving consistently to support the business demands.

Previously the analysis has been based on structured data – age, location, behavior, race, etc. However, as the business competition is getting tougher, technology has evolved and now supports unstructured data for analysis. The term ‘unstructured data’ is referring to blogs and videos to name a few.

Now the method of consumer analysis can start

  1. From the moment that you walk in the supermarket looking for your items.
  2. From the items that you need you are choosing from different brands. While choosing you may have been analyzed by the brand names that implements the video analytics.
  3. When you pick up the item it is a different record of event and
  4. when you decided to buy the item it is tagged as different event.

When it is the first time that you choose your credit card to purchase online, your bank suddenly called you in a matter of minutes to confirm if you really made the transaction. That is analytics in the move and the technology supports it to analyze it in milliseconds or seconds to provide fraud detection.

As all of these are happening it is a great feeling that our technology can keep up and business is there to provide us with better service and satisfaction. The downside of which is the issue on privacy as consumers.

Who are you? This is my nephew giving me his inquisitive look during my birthday celebration in Germany, September 2010.

Though privacy issues created commotion due to internet cookies detected to collect surfing data and other personal data, it is still undeniable that our personal data maybe roaming somewhere being analyzed as which demographics we belong and what regression model would suit and fit us so the business can create advantage and maintain competition.

Privacy issue is always undeniable in the digital world. And our behavior or pattern are the key to business and as well as government in providing security and welfare.

And so, we are tagged and being analyzed.

And if we do not want to be located for whatever reason… the best way to do it is to shut off the mobile phone. (wink).

This is me while gearing up and competing with in the market space of analytics technology.

Til next time. Au revoir.

A Rare Method Of Delivery

A memorable experience worth sharing:

Have you ever experienced wishing for something to happen for that one person… that you planned and did your part only to accept the fact that it is you who failed and just accept things as they are meant to happen?

To make it short, you wanted to surprise someone only to end up that it was you who were surprised in the end?

Well… the intro is pretty confusing isn’t it?

A memorable experience…

It was July 2010 when a memorable person in my life celebrated his birthday. However, he celebrated his birthday on a foreign country thousands of miles away from his family and loved ones. He was on his vacation. Being in a foreign country during your birthday, the feeling is not the same as compared to when you’re with your family. Unfamiliar faces and unfamiliar place can give a tricky adjustment for you to lighten up your mood.

So I decided to surprise this memorable person. However, I do not know what and how to surprise him. I haven’t been to the country where he spent his birthday.

As the spirit of Worldcup was approaching, and needless to say I am a football fan/addict every period of 4 years because of FIFA, I casually asked him during our casual messages if he’s a fan of football. Surprisingly, football is a casual so-so for him. He was more of a baseball guy.

Baseball…

Just like watching baseball games when I was still in my high school years. I tried being the ‘catcher’ in the women’s softball team but I cannot handle the pressure of being in constant eye alert and the signal synchronization between me and my pitcher. So I just decided to become a player and just pass my physical education class.

So to surprise him, I checked the baseball stadiums in the country where he went for vacation. Problem is, there are a lot of things I don’t know – the places that he’s going to, the timing and his travel itinerary. The probability of knowing is very little. I was thinking twice if this surprise gift is the right thing to do. All I know is his birthdate and the country that he’s going to.

For his birthday, I wanted to greet him and give him a baseball ball. Well, I am unsure if this will be special for him. But this is the gift that I wanted to give him.

Still, I took my chances.

During his vacation, we had few occasions of interaction through messages. I was loosing my faith for the surprise gift. When his birthday is nearby, I felt that I am close to impossible. It is like throwing a ball to nowhere and hoping that somebody will throw the ball back at me.

Few days before his birthday, on one of messages, he mentioned the place of his next destination. Even with this information, I am still not sure if he will watch any baseball games. The chances is still slim.

But for whatever force there is, I searched the stadium where the baseball games are being held at his next destination. And when I knew the stadium, I still don’t know if he’s going to watch baseball game on his birthday. I was loosing hope, but still there was a push for me to continue surprising him. I don’t know why.

Unexpected things happened. I was assigned to another technology in my job. I’m assigned to handle the mobility technologies and was involved in a roadshow technology event held in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia a day after his birthday. Mobility technology is very French for me. My cup of tea is from the backend side of IT and mobility is dealing with front-end applications in mobile devices. I only have few days to train myself before the event. I still accepted the assignment.

And I completely forgotten about my surprise for him. I travelled to Kuala Lumpur Malaysia 2 days before the event in order to setup and test the mobile devices that I am going to demo. And, like the usual technology testings, I hit few issues that needed coordination from my Hong Kong counterparts.

A day before his birthday, as I was still rushing to complete my demo, I remembered my surprise birthday gift for him. Thanks to the timezone differences, I still had the chance to send out my request to Rogers Stadium. I didn’t know if he will be there during his birthday. All I felt is that I have to request something from the stadium for him. The chances would be around one in a millionth ratio but I felt of doing it.

And so I did it. I sent out a request. Only to received a reply from Rogers Stadium informing me that I missed out the deadline for requests. I cordially thanked the stadium for even reading and considering my request. I have informed them that I am located in Singapore and have never been to their country so it is impossible for me to learn the policies. Either way, I smiled in my email and still thanked them.

And so I failed. I failed in surprising him on his birthday. I sent a casual birthday message for him and the day had passed.

A day after his birthday, the event happened. Life continues. I was thinking, probably things will happen different from my wishes. And I guess I just have to accept it.

It so happened that during the event, I had a wireless internet access. I received a notification from my Blackberry mobile that he uploaded pictures. During the notification, the event attendees were having their sessions so I had the chance to open up my personal favorite websites and just blankly open up his new photo uploads.

And there it was. One picture that made my eyes widened. There was a baseball ball. I immediately viewed the photo. And I was shocked.

Somebody has actually gave him the baseball ball!!!

I really don’t mind who gave it, how it was given to him.

All I want is for him to have a baseball ball on his birthday. I felt that it would a gift worth remembering for someone who is a baseball fan.

I always want him to be happy.

Like a little girl, if I can just jump and shout for joy during the event without even looking like a crazy person, I would have done it. But I couldn’t do it because I was in my dress.

I stepped outside the conference hall of KLCC Convention Center.

Looking outside the glass windows of the KLCC Convention Center, the weather was bright. I looked up in the sky and smiled and asked:

“You really did that did YOU?”

I was talking to the BIG GUY up there.

I closed my eyes and just whispered,

THANK YOU… YOU have always been there for me, Dad.”

Funny isn’t it? When we did everything we can in order to fulfill our wishes only to realized that it is His Will and in His time.

Things happen for reasons. Reasons I believe will be known in the right time and in the right place. It’s all about faith.

Doing the surprise was very memorable and everything including him are now part of memories.

Still walking in crossroads, I frankly don’t know where I am heading. But at this point in time, I’ll just follow God’s steps since He already laid it out for me. All I have to do is to follow.

Life is a constant journey. And every journey gives us different perspectives. We can always stop and rest for a while when we’re tired. The continuation will rely greatly rely on us. It is either we stop the journey permanently or just continue walking and enjoy the view. I choose the latter.

Til next time. Au revoir.