Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Word of the day: Catch-22

It's about time we move out of the SPM zone and leave what's history as history. We shall return later when the JPA scholarship awards are being handed out. (Lots of juicy stories I'm expecting)

The word of the day today is Catch-22. I was actually looking at Infernal Rambling's article on “Converting to Islam and Back". A very eye-catching story if any of you are interested. It raised the ever unresolved question of which court, the Syariah or civil, should be superior to the other. One can obtain more information about the case here, as reported by NST.

Here is one of Datuk Gopal Sri Ram's view:

"The wife is therefore in a catch-22 situation. But she has a recourse under a provision in the Administration of Islamic Law (Federal Territories) Act," he said, adding that Subshini could apply to the Syariah Appeal Court to exercise its supervisory and revisionary powers to make a ruling on the legality of the husband’s application on grounds that the syariah court lacked jurisdiction and that she was a non-Muslim. [Source: NST]

At first, I was thinking. What does catch-22 mean? Forgive me if you already know the answer but my command of English is not as powerful as most of you out there.

What do you do when you come across something you couldn't understand? I WIKI it up.

Turns out that catch-22 is.......
........a term, coined by Joseph Heller in his novel Catch-22, describing a general situation in which an individual requests something, but the very act of requesting it seems to obviate the justification for the request (rightly or wrongly). [Source: Wikipedia]
Still, I couldn't grasp the meaning of this, and continued to look at the examples. Here are some:
  1. The chicken or the egg: Which came first? There wouldn't be a chicken without an egg. There wouldn't be an egg without a chicken. This is a catch-22 situation.
  2. The graduate: A graduate couldn't get a job because he doesn't have the necessary work experience. He also couldn't get work experience because he couldn't get a job. He's in a catch-22 situation.
So this is catch-22, I never knew that. Hmmm.....

Back to our news. Why is the lady in a catch-22 situation as commented by Datuk Sri Ram?

Another judge, Datuk Hasan Lah explained.....
Hasan said the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976 gave Subshini the right to apply to the High Court but the civil court could not issue a stay order (under the Specific Relief Act 1950) on matters involving the syariah court. [Source: NST]
Catch-22 it is!!!!! Eureka!!!!! So learn it, catch-22, a very useful word.

I'm still particularly interested in how they are going to resolve this matter.

  1. Converting to Islam and Back, johnleemk, Mar 14, 2007.
  2. Catch-22(logic), Wikipedia.
  3. Non-Muslim spouse must seek remedy in syariah court, V.Anbalagan, Mar 14, 2007.

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