Thursday, October 20, 2011

Deepavali advert - Monday in The STAR

Have a meaningful Deepavali: Choose the Middle Path

"It is a right and duty of the wise ones to purify the strong by teaching them their duties and to strengthen the weak by teaching them their rights."
-Subramanya Bharathi (1882 - 1921)

Why the middle path?

Here in Malaysia, we have been on the middle path from the very start.

We are situated in the middle between the northeast and southwest monsoons, the natural meeting point of the East and the West. As its height, it is said that eighty four languages were spoken in Malacca by merchant communities as diverse as Gujaratis, Indians and Burmese, Southeast Asians, the Chinese and Japanese.

The spread of religion in Malaya did not involve force. Our early Hindu-Buddhist period brought a glorious legacy of Sanskrit literacy and the tradition of kingship which we practice until today. When Islam arrived, it attracted our people with its inclusivity and moderation which absorbed rather than conquered the existing beliefs. When Christianity came, it was also embraced and accommodated without conflict. And until today we maintain a weave of different religions, all of which did not arrive with compulsion, but are embraced with moderation, accommodation and mutual respect.

The Buddha described the path of wisdom as 'the middle path' and taught about moderation in the right understanding, conduct and efforts. Hinduism teaches about a balanced life for holistic growth in body, mind and spirit. The Bible talks about temperate behaviour between the things that are permissible and the things that are beneficial. Islam prescribed 'sebaik - baik pekerjaan adalah yang pertengahan' as a way of life. All our faiths emphasize the middle way in personal growth and social harmony.

When it came time for our Merdeka negotiations, once again it was the middle path which prevailed. Our Federal Constitution has, at its core, the spirit of moderation. Rather then being idealistic, our forefathers were wise to be pragmatic to the realities of our society. The genius of our Constitution is its framework of workable compromise that has managed to bind together the weave of our multiracial, multireligious and multilingual nation.

The middle path has been our foundation form the very start. It is our way of life. Whether we embrace it or not, our legacy has proven that for our diverse society, we need to have the right balance between right principles and right pragmatism. We need to be grounded in real situations, not idealism. To choose the right compromises sometimes, so that we do not compromise the very core that keeps our nation intact.

The middle path is the path that favors moving forward. It does not mean to be 'lalang' or to shrug off making decisions. Rather, it is making a stand to apply the right principle, in the right capacity and at the right time, to create a workable path. It is choosing our shared values as our basis, and the spirit of empathy and moderation as our practice.

At zubedy, our programs draw strength from shared values and traditions. We believe that at heart, all Malaysians want good things for themselves and for their brother and sister Malaysians, simply because our nation cannot prosper as a whole if some of us are left behind.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good one, Anas