Posted by: lifedistorted | January 10, 2011

Back in the garden

Finally back in the garden in Malang. Green Mommy Shop is starting a Urban Garden section soon so we have to clean up and improve our garden  here. This week I made a greenhouse on the roof with some 1-inch pvc pipes and plastic sheets. It should hold well even in the heaviest rain. I did get some ideas how to improve the stability for next time we make one. The green house can be made about 3m wide and as long as 20m and still be effective and stable. The reasons for the green house is due to heavy rain damaging the plants and also to avoid rain washing the nutrients out of the soil. By controlling the water we can also give each plant the amount it needs while having many kinds in one place.

Posted by: lifedistorted | September 18, 2010

Character Assassination

Character assassination is an attempt to tarnish a person’s reputation. It may involve exaggeration or manipulation of facts to present an untrue picture of the targeted person. It is a form of defamation and can be a form of ad hominem argument.

For living individuals targeted by character assassination attempts, this may result in being rejected by his community, family, or members of his or her living or work environment. Such acts are often difficult to reverse or rectify, and the process is likened to a literal assassination of a human life. The damage sustained can last a lifetime or, for historical figures, for many centuries after their death.

In practice, character assassination may involve doublespeak, spreading of rumors, innuendo or deliberate misinformation on topics relating to the subject’s morals, integrity, and reputation. It may involve spinning information that is technically true, but that is presented in a misleading manner or is presented without the necessary context. For example, it might be said that a person refused to pay any income tax during a specific year, without saying that no tax was actually owed due to the person having no income that year, or if a person was sacked from a firm, even though they may have been made redundant rather than actually fired.

The first rule of dealing with people you don’t agree with is to see them face to face and discuss the problem. Putting it out in public where you can’t take it back without admitting your fault is very dangerous both to yourself and to the person you have disagreement with. This is why in Islam when we make a mistake which noone knows about, we should let Allah cover it and make tawbah (repent).

Why do some people do this act? I believe the most common reason for this is a sense of guilt that someone can’t get rid of so they project it outward onto someone else to make themselves look less guilty. Sometimes ego gets in the way of what is best for you.

An example of this could be taking a course where the main aim is to change oneself and ones environment. Maybe a promise or commitment to do something was made and now the ego of that person is struggling to take over. Maybe the person feels so guilty about not being able to do what he/she was hoping to do. Maybe all the reasons for not being able to do it are valid. But somehow the person just can’t accept the possibility of others seeing them as less capable of living up to their expectations or promises.

One very common way to discredit a person is to repeat the same statements many times but in different ways to increase the feeling that the person is doing wrong. The biggest problem in character assassination in Malaysia is when the culture makes it hard for the wronged person to clear his name or defend himself. In this Muslim country, islamic rules are often used to do the wrong thing. In Islam we are taught that when being attacked it is best to forgive and the person who apologizes first (even when he is the wronged) gets the reward from God. When wrong doing and character assassinations are the rule rather than the exception, just forgiving and forgetting can be counter-productive and even make the problems worse because no one feels these things are bad since they are done by the majority on different levels. We are creating a desensitized population through the way we increase the acceptance of violence and immoral behavior.

But we are also told that when we see a wrong we should change it with our hand and if we can’t do that we should speak out against it and if we can’t even do that we should hate it in our hearts, and that is the least of faith. Often there are other people involved when someones character is being “assassinated” and those could be put into several groups. One group is those other people who are also having guilt of not living up to their own and others expectations and so chose to agree with the “assassin”. Then there are those who are too afraid to be targeted by the “assassin” so they chose to either support him or to be quiet. The last group and this is one that is often completely empty are those who have the courage to stand up for what is right even if it means facing a larger and more powerful group.

Why am I writing this post? The reason is two-fold. First I have seen this behavior many times during my 7 years in Asia and it happens in all levels of society, from the politicians to the common man. Secondly I have recently seen this happen and several others who are dear to me have been victims of this in the past, fortunately some have “survived” it.

Let me make it quite clear that this is not in any way meant to offend or criticize malaysians or Malaysia, but only as a reminder of something that we need to be aware of in our changing modern society. I have many people who are dear to me in both Malaysia and Indonesia. May Allah give us success in avoiding fitna.

Posted by: lifedistorted | September 14, 2010

Matar Paneer without the paneer

Ingredient A:

Green pea  450 g
Potato       600 g
Tomato     250 g (4 -5 fruits)

Ingredient  B:

Onion  2 (medium size)
Gallic  6 cloves (Grain)
Ginger 1 tsp( Grained)
Green chili 2 (chopped)

Ingredient C:
Salt 2 Tsp
Chili powder 2 Tsp
Cumin powder 2 Tsp
Black pepper 2 Tsp
Cinnamon powder 1 Tsp
Poppy seeds 1 Tsp
Nutmeg 1 Tsp
Barley leaves 2 pieces
Coriander powder 2 Tsp
Coriandar leaves (Dry) 1 Tsp
Tumeric powder 1 Tsp
Fenugreek seeds 1 Tsp
Cloves 2

Ingredient D:
Pure yogurt  1 cup
Water 4 cup
Corn flour 1 table spoon


1) 1 table spoon of Ghee, fried  Ingredient B.
2) Put in the mix Ingredient C.
3) Next , turn off the fire. The spicy put in slow cooker.
4) Then, mix the pure yogurt with the ready spicy and corn flour too.
5) Added Ingredient A , and mix with water in slow cooker.
6) Turn on the slow cooker.

Posted by: lifedistorted | September 14, 2010

Dangers of trusting modern medicine

When are we going to admit that modern medicine is not going to be there for us when we need it most?

Posted by: lifedistorted | September 13, 2010

Is that plastic safe?

Our homes are full of plastic, and the kitchen is no exception. The problem: Chemicals in plastic containers and other kitchenware may leach into thefoods or drinks that they’re holding. Scientific evidence suggests that some of these chemicals may be harmful to people, especially infants and children.

The two best-studied offenders are bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates. BPA mimics estrogen and has been shown to disrupt hormone and reproductive system function in animals. Research by the National Toxicology Program found a moderate level of concern about its “effects on the brain, behavior and prostate gland in fetuses, infants and children.” Phthalates have been shown to disrupt the endocrine system and have led to malformations in the male reproductive system in animals. Studies in humans have found associations between high phthalate exposure and a variety of health concerns including low sperm quality, high waist circumference and insulin resistance.

Researchers are still debating whether phthalates and BPA actually cause these health problems and, if so, how much exposure is necessary to trigger them. While these issues are being figured out, some experts recommend taking a preventive approach: “Minimize contact of food with problematic plastics as a precautionary measure to protect your health,” suggests Rolf Halden, PhD, adjunct associate professor of environmental health sciences at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Here are six simple tips for reducing your exposure to the potentially harmful chemicals in plastics.

1. Know the code. Look on the bottom of your plastic to find the recycling symbol (a number between 1 and 7 enclosed in a triangle of arrows). The code indicates the type of plastic you are using and can give you important clues about safety. “We generally say 1, 2, 4 and 5 are considered to be the safest,” says Sonya Lunder, senior analyst at the Environmental Working Group. Try to avoid using plastics with 3 or 6, as these leach chemicals that may be harmful. Number 7 is an “other” category that includes BPA-containing plastics called polycarbonates. These plastics, which you should avoid, will have the letters PC printed underneath the 7.

2. Reconsider the microwave. Heat can increase the rate at which chemicals like BPA leach from plastic. Containers labeled “microwave safe” have been tested by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and found to leach extremely small amounts, which the FDA has determined to be safe. However, some experts advise people to keep plastic out of the microwave altogether. “I don’t microwave anything in plastic,” says Lunder. “It’s really easy and fast to put my food into a ceramic or glass container and heat it that way.” And never put plastic wrap on top of your food in the microwave, since it can melt. Use wax paper or a paper towel instead.

3. Use it for its intended purpose. Plastics that are designed for single use should only be used once. “Plastic breaks down over time,” Lunder explains. “Some aren’t designed to withstand heating and cooling.” Most plastics with recycling code number 1 are intended for single use, such as disposable water bottles. And that takeout container from six months ago? Toss it. In general they’re fine for refrigerating leftovers, but aren’t designed for heat exposure or long-term use.

4. Wash by hand. Only put plastics into the dishwasher if they have a dishwasher safe label. If you want to be extra-cautious, wash all plastics by hand or use only glass and ceramic plates and dishes. In the dishwasher, plastics are exposed to detergents and heat, which may accelerate the leaching of BPA from food containers.

5. Do not freeze. Only put plastics in the freezer if they have a freezer-safe label. Freezer temperatures can cause plastics to deteriorate, which increases the leaching of chemicals into the food when you take containers out of the freezer to thaw or reheat.

6. Don’t panic. Cutting down on exposure to potentially harmful chemicals in plastics can benefit your health. But as Dr. Halden reminds us, “Many things in your life pose a much higher risk than exposure to plastics, such as smoking, poor dietand even driving a car.”

Posted by: lifedistorted | August 11, 2010

A students opinion

This is one of the students of my intro course. This should give anyone some idea of whether its worth it to take the course.

I have removed the students name to avoid previous teachers being offended.

Hi Sheikh Hassan,

Great to hear from you. Yes, do reply to me via email as sometimes I
deactivate my Facebook (too much distraction).

Will your PDC be following along the lines of your Intro workshop?
Like, lots of practical information and hands-on stuff from your own
experience that we can immediately use and apply in our Malaysian
climate? Because I felt like that was the most beneficial part of your
teaching. I gained a lot from your in-depth style because you made
difficult theories easy to grasp. As opposed to the standard Bill
Mollison curriculum with other teachers (like the PDC I did before) –
which I felt were a lot of touch-and-go theories in the air but not
really any in-depth explanation on how we can actually apply the
permaculture principles in the Malaysian context.

For instance, the grow bed and worms was such a great thing –
something I can start and do immediately. And your fantastic in-depth
explanation on zone and site analysis was so much clearer than other
teachers. If your PDC can break down stuff like this into easy to
apply pieces than that will go a long way in making me a more
confident permaculture designer!

Looking forward to your response. Your advice at the end of your
message really gave me food for thought, as always. Thank you!


Posted by: lifedistorted | July 25, 2010

The Star newspaper

Our cause was in the Star newspaper yeasterday, alhamdulillah.

What is permaculture?

According to Essence of Permaculture by David Holmgren (, the word was coined by Australian founders Bill Mollison and Holmgren in the mid-1970s to describe an evolving, integrated system of perennial or self-perpetuating plant and animal species useful to man.

“(It is about) consciously designed landscapes which mimic the patterns and relationships found in nature, while yielding an abundance of food, fibre and energy for provision of local needs.

“People, their buildings and the ways in which they organise themselves are central to permaculture. Thus the permaculture vision of permanent or sustainable agriculture has evolved to one of permanent or sustainable culture,” Holmgren explains.

The permaculture movement has taken off in many places around the world but it is still relatively new here. In his quest to raise awareness on the subject and, ultimately, to create a fully-sustainable Islamic community, Shaykh Hassan Henning Pedersen, 47 (above), is conducting an introductory sustainability course in permaculture, natural medicine and self-defence.

His workshop, from July 25-30 at Yayasan Rasma Centre, Jenderami Dengkil, is a five-day, live-in course that includes hostel accommodation, meals and a certificate of completion.

Pedersen will teach — through lectures, discussions and hands-on exercises — on how to provide for physical needs such as food, water, shelter and energy in an environment-friendly and sustainable manner.

Among the topics covered are how to create sustainability in your own community, grow your own food organically, reduce dependency on fossil fuels, grow your own medicine and treat common ailments, build your house from safe, cheap and natural materials, and defend yourself in an increasingly violent world.

“Permaculture is a combination of two words – permanent and culture. It is the science of using natural functions to create an environment that is sustainable in all its functions and in every way. You have to work with nature, not against it,” explains Pedersen.

The Dane, who lives in Indonesia, is a naturopathic doctor, permaculture designer and master of several martial arts systems with more than 25 years of experience in sustainable living. He has been involved with NGOs and activists since he was a teenager but only got into perma-culture a decade ago.

“I was already practising many of the principles in perma-culture but not as an entire system. I prefer to call it sustainability as people are still unfamiliar with the term permaculture,” he says.

Among Pedersen’s main efforts in walking the talk is transforming his home in East Java into an eco-friendly showhouse where water catchments are used to collect rainwater, which in turn is used to breed fish and water the plants. He grows plants wherever possible and uses kitchen and fish waste as fertiliser.

Pedersen does not own a car and eats 80% of his food raw.

“I have travelled to 26 different countries in 20 years and have never needed a car. It’s too destructive to the environment. I’d rather take public transportation. Regarding food, good enzymes are killed at 40°C, so why consume food that has less nutrients? My whole family adopts a similar eating habit, and my eldest son, who is 9½ years old, has never been sick in his life.”

Pedersen recommends watching No Impact Man, directed by Laura Gabbert and Justin Schein, to people who are interested in permaculture. The 2009 documentary features a Manhattan-based family who abandoned their high-consumption, 5th Avenue lifestyle for a year in which they produced little environmental impact.

“This documentary shows excellent examples of how you can implement sustainability in your everyday live, regardless of whether you’re in the city or rural area,” says Pedersen.

Pedersen’s way of life has inspired many to start practising sustainable living. One of his students, Atika Irfan, 36, says she hopes to learn how to become more sustainable after completing his workshop.

The Pakistani, who has been living in Malaysia with her Malaysian husband for 14 years, is now thinking about building a rainwater catchment system, rearing her own fish and prawns, and starting her own salad garden. She currently buys only local products from the local markets to minimise consumption of imported food.

“Over the years, I have realised that companies are all about making profit. Our meat is contaminated with hormones, and chemical pesticides have been making us ill. My mum’s medication costs RM500 each month for 30 pills. Health problems run in my family. I can’t afford the cures so I don’t wish to be sick,” says Atika.

She cites the Asian Food Channel (AFC) programme, River Cottage, where the host cooks up delicious meals using organic ingredients and livestock from his farm, as her main source of inspiration.

Another student, Awaludin Mohal, 68, is moving towards making his 0.8ha land in Janda Baik fully sustainable in preparation for the peak oil phenomenon. Analysts believe that when the oil runs out, the economy will collapse and food will become scarce — Awaludin is giving himself a headstart.

“Food will be a problem when the economy collapses. History shows that people will even kill for food, just like during the 1930s Great Depression. I have to think about my family. It’s better to be prepared than sorry,” he says.

Awaludin grows all sorts of vege-tables on his farm and rears his own chickens, geese and fish.

“I’m looking to grow worms and maggots for my chickens. Worms are also good for the soil. I feed my carp banana leaves and my tilapia eat tapioca leaves,” adds Awaludin, who plans to build an eco-friendly house in the near future.

Although the aim of the workshop is to set up an Islamic Eco-Village, non-Muslims are welcome to join the course. Dress appropriately.

Posted by: lifedistorted | July 13, 2010

New III4S logo

Yes we now have a new logo for III4S

Wa salaam

Posted by: lifedistorted | July 7, 2010

Growing food in soil

Asalamu aleikum,

If you plan to grow your own food you might want to make sure the food is grown in the best growing media.
The best mix is 50% good compost, 25% vermiculite and 25% good quality manure (rabbit, goat, sheep or cow). If you use chicken manure it should be 70% compost, 25% vermiculite and 5% chicken manure.

To get increase in produce you can add 10-20% vermicompost.

This is one source of vermiculite, but other places might be cheaper. If you find a cheap place please post the address here so others can benefit.

Posted by: lifedistorted | July 7, 2010

Real food not powders

Asalamu aleikum,

Too many people are eating/drinking powders such as mellilea etc. It is not possible to contain the proper level of enzymes in a powder and on top of that these powders are so expensive that you can actually get twice the nutrition for half the cost by buying or even growing REAL food.

One good example is growing your own wheatgrass. Wheatgrass is high in nutrients and can grown very easily even indoors.

In Kuala Lumpur one good source of wheatgrass supplies is

I can’t vouch for their therapy since I have not experienced it, but do NOT buy their powder products, instead grow your own wheatgrass. They sell trays, soil, seeds and excellent juicers.

Table 1. Nutrient comparison of 1 oz (28.35 g) of wheatgrass juice, broccoli and spinach.
Nutrient Wheatgrass Juice Broccoli Spinach
Protein 860 mg 800 mg 810 mg
Beta-carotene 120 IU 177 IU 2658 IU
Vitamin E 880 mcg 220 mcg 580 mcg
Vitamin C 1 mg 25.3 mg 8 mg
Vitamin B12 0.30 mcg 0 mcg 0 mcg
Phosphorus 21 mg 19 mg 14 mg
Magnesium 8 mg 6 mg 22 mg
Calcium 7.2 mg 13 mg 28 mg
Iron 0.66 mg 0.21 mg 0.77 mg
Potassium 42 mg 90 mg 158 mg
Data on broccoli and spinach from USDA database.[5]Data on Wheatgrass juice from indoor grown wheatgrass.[2]

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