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A Lesson In A History Of Technology

By Muhammad Husni Mohd Amin

Muhammad Husni Mohd Amin is a Senior Research Officer at the Institute of Islamic Understanding Malaysia (IKIM)’s Centre for Science and Environment Studies.

KUALA LUMPUR  (Bernama) --When the 16th century English courtier Sir John Harrington wrote his political allegory and critique entitled A New Discourse of a Stale Subject in 1596, he described in it a forerunner to the flush toilet installed in his home at Kelston.

Yet, had it not been for the invention of the tank fill valve, the flushing system could not have worked. Fixed inside the water tank ubiquitous with the modern lavatory, this device uses a float attached to the end of a lever to regulate the filling of the cistern.

In a 1,100 year-old manuscript of Kitab al-Hiyal (The Book of Ingenious Devices) being kept at Topkapi Palace Museum in Turkey, 9th century Muslim scientists and engineers known as Banu Musa first described and illustrated the mechanism’s design and operation.

Although a simple device, it provides a way to store water essential for residential homes as well as construction, manufacturing, and agricultural industries. Without it, the urban expansion of human civilisation would not have happened as we know it today.

Banu Musa were three brothers—Abu Ja‘far Muhammad, Abu al-Qasim Ahmad, and al-Hasan—whose collective expertise ranges from astronomy and mathematics to engineering and geometry. They were contemporaries of al-Khawarizmi (d. 850 CE) who invented algorithm and al-Kindi (d. 873 CE) who studied and introduced Greek philosophy to the Muslim world.


The Rising Of Tall Poppy Syndrome On Social Networks

By Zulaikha Zainal Rashid

(This commentary expresses the personal views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect BERNAMA’s stand on the matter.)


KUALA LUMPUR (BERNAMA) -- Puji Lestari does not look like a typical speed-climbing athlete. The 28-year-old Indonesian stands at 5’3”, cuts a slight figure and wears the hijab.

So when she stood in front of her more athletic-looking opponent during a speed-climbing event at the recent Asian Games, many thought the odds were against her.

How surprised they were, then, to see her climb the wall with breathtaking speed and agility, reaching the top seconds before her competitor.

A videoclip of the event went viral among Malaysians on social media, drawing amazement from viewers.

But awe was unfortunately not the main reaction on social media.


The Role And Functions Of The Agong

By Erda Khursyiah Basir

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 7 (Bernama) -- The nation’s monarchy, and the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, in particular, is a symbol of Malaysia’s sovereignty. His proclamation and role has been defined under the constitution.

As such, the change of government following Pakatan Harapan’s win in the 14th General Elections in May would not affect his role, function and position as the head of state, says Constitutional law expert and International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) law lecturer Assoc Prof Dr Shamrahayu Ab Aziz.

The change in government saw Sultan Muhammad V going down in the nation’s history as the first Yang di-Pertuan Agong to reign in an era with two different governments.

When he was appointed as the 15th Yang di-Pertuan Agong on Dec 13, 2016, the ruling government was led by Barisan Nasional.

On May 10, Pakatan Harapan took over the country’s leadership after a historical win in the 14th General Election.

When the Agong officiated the first meeting of the first session of the 14h Parliament last July 17, His Majesty welcomed the new government’s approach to transparency, especially in revealing the state of the country’s finances and the reviewing of projects and expenses.