I have three children: sons Imran and Aiman, and daughter Syahirah.
When they were growing up we always had our family meal at the kitchen dining table, while the family was in Jeddah and also here in Kuala Lumpur. I always encouraged my children to engage in an intellectual discussion during meal time. My daughter, Syahirah called it ‘education talk’ time because it often centred on education and knowledge. During such session information was shared and ‘crazy’ out-of-the-box ideas were tolerated. The family always prides itself in this.
On one occasion Syahirah who was then in her early teens asked me a difficult question: “Are we rich?” Apparently, she was asked the question by one of her schoolmates at an International School which she attended in Jeddah. I had to give a response. I said: “We are not rich in material wealth, but our family is always rich in ideas”. To my mind this was a fitting reply to her friend, who no doubt measured richness mainly in terms of big houses, flashy cars and frequent holiday trips overseas. We had little of those. My children knew this.
I told my children that our mind should always open up for new ideas. Subject to the laws of God, we should open up our mind wide, think out-of-the box, and entertain remote possibilities of overcoming challenges. In other words our mind should cross all frontiers. This is where we are rich.
The tradition of democratic freedom of thought and tolerance of crazy ideas and opinions has been a family hallmark. It covered politics, economics and contemporary issues. Of course I needed a lot of patience to absorb this. Religious issues were allowed but often subject to serious restraints by me. Democracy and freedom of thought stop here. I told my children that God is always right.
One day, here in Kuala Lumpur, my son Aiman suggested that we should immortalize this family tradition of freedom of thought. It is something that could be handed down generation to generation. It sounded a good idea to me. I do not have much material wealth to distribute. But this is a legacy to preserve. Thus the idea of a family emblem came up. We agreed on the parameters. Aiman designed the emblem with the help of a graphic designer, incorporating all the family values.
The family emblem was created!
The emblem shows padi grains at the sides. In the centre are three arrows pointing upward, criss-crossing in the centre.
In the Malay world padi grains denote prosperity and all that is good. We coloured them green as the padi have not ripened. This denotes that the prosperity sought is on-going, and thus effort must be continuous. The three arrows in the centre represent my three children. The arrows are shot into the air and so they point upward. This means that the three children are released to the world and will overcome all challenges that they face. They will cross all frontiers!
The three arrows criss-cross in the centre, meaning that in their journey they will always be guided by a common factor, denoting parental guidance and wisdom.
The family motto in Malay at the bottom states “Merentasi Sempadan” or “Crossing Frontiers”.