Saturday, September 19, 2009
Thursday, September 17, 2009
It’s not new as I was involved as a Pro-tem Committee Member many years ago during its inception. I have stayed out of NGO work for many years, so here I am again.
You will hear a little more about the work at JUST via my blog. Prof Dr Chandra is the President of JUST. To know more about JUST click here - http://www.just-international.org
September 17th, 2009
The recent cow head incident has brought to the fore certain important prerequisites for the maintenance of peace and harmony in a multi-religious society like ours.
One, an appreciation of the sensitivities of each and every religious community is fundamental. These sensitivities may be at variance with one’s own beliefs but recognizing them for what they are, is a pre-condition for ensuring inter-ethnic peace in a multi-religious society.
Two, when these sensitivities are ignored, or worse, transgressed, it is individuals and groups from the offending community who should be more vocal in condemning the behaviour of their fellow religionists. This will have a more positive impact upon inter-religious ties than the denunciations of people from the aggrieved community. It is commendable that in the cow head incident a number of Muslim groups took a firm stand against the despicable action of a misguided few from their own community who had clearly violated Islamic teachings. I have no doubt at all that if police investigations reveal that those responsible for the pig head incidents in Malacca and Kuala Lumpur are from some non-Muslim community, there will be individuals and groups from the community who will condemn such debased conduct.
Three, while Malaysians are generally conscious of the red lines that should not be crossed on certain matters pertaining to religion, the level of understanding and empathy among the different communities is still appallingly low. On a variety of issues ranging from education to economics, misconception and distrust continue to impact negatively upon ethnic relations. This is why public policies that seek to redress ethnic grievances, buttressed by effective public education, are so critical at this point in time in enhancing inter-community understanding.
If there was empathy among the communities, the question of relocating a Hindu temple in Shah Alam would have been less controversial. No one would have argued that a minority religious community cannot have its own place of worship in a locality where the majority professes a different religion. Right through history, Muslim Rulers --- with a few exceptions—saw it as their duty to protect the temples, churches and synagogues of minority faiths, in accordance with Quranic principles. By the same token, in a number of societies where Hindus or Buddhists or Christians are in the majority, Muslim minorities have been able build their mosques and practise their faith in peace. Malaysia itself is an outstanding example of a country where the majority-minority dichotomy has had no effect upon the construction of places of worship. If we were influenced by such myopic thinking, there would be no gurdwaras in Malaysia since Sikhs are a tiny minority everywhere in the country!
Of course, in any multi-religious society there will have to be unambiguous rules governing the construction, maintenance and expansion of places of worship. These rules should be just and fair to all religious communities. Equally important, they should be enforced effectively. The lack of effective enforcement has in some instances contributed to inter-religious friction and tension.
From a broader perspective, while it is important to acknowledge the significance of a place of worship to the religious life of a people, it would be wrong to assume that a place of worship is proof of the piety of a people. We have to get rid of the idea that there is a direct equation between the two. True piety is reflected in faith in God and in good deeds. In the ultimate analysis, it is deeds that mirror values such as justice and compassion and kindness that really count.
It is not just kindness and compassion to our fellow human beings that is indicative of piety. Showing kindness and compassion to animals is also regarded as a noble virtue in all our religions. This virtue was one of the edicts of that illustrious Buddhist Ruler of antiquity, Asoka. . The Qur’an even recognizes the rights of animals as illustrated in the story of the Prophet Salih and the people of Thamud. It explains why early Muslim jurists not only formulated rules and regulations aimed at protecting the welfare of animals but also prohibited animal torture. This is why stomping and spitting upon the slaughtered head of a cow with venom is an unconscionable act.
The time has come for more individuals and groups of conscience to speak out against those attitudes and actions within their own religious community that violate the humane values and principles embodied in their respective faiths.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
What would the world be like if everyone looked much like everyone else; same hair, skin colour and appearance? What would the world be like if only one culture existed, one religion, one language? Would the world still be as beautiful, as rich, as vibrant and exciting as it is today?
What about Malaysia?
What would Malaysia be like if we all belonged to one ethnic group, one religious tradition?
Would there be nasi lemak, char kuey teow, banana leaf rice, chapatti and dhal? Asam pedas, yong tau foo, vadai and rojak? Would there be roti canai and teh tarik?
Would women wear baju kurungs, cheongsams and saris? Would children recognize our Sikh brother with his majestic turban, Pak Cik wearing his kopiah, Annai with his white vesti and Apek in a Pagoda t-shirt?
Would there be kompang, Chinese drums or tablas? How about the joget, sumazau and bhangra? Will we get to enjoy Dikir Barat, Chinese Opera and the Bharatanatyam? Would we celebrate Gawai and Keamatan?
Will we wake up to the soothing call of the azan and go home at the end of the day to the alluring sounds of Hindu temple bells or the clank of cymbals as we breathe in the quaint smell of incense drifting from a Chinese temple? Would Sundays be Sundays without church bells ringing?
Would all our weddings be the same old same old? No adat bersanding or bunga telur, no tea ceremony or yam seng, no nalangu or laddu?
What would Malaysia be like with no Hari Raya? No ketupat, bunga api, pelita and no children going house-to-house collecting duit raya? What if there was no Chinese New Year, no reunion dinner, no yee sang, no ang pow and no lion dance?
What if we did not celebrate Deepavali, and nobody carried out the oil-bath ritual, or decorated their houses with kolam and no lamps were lit? What if we did not experience the spirit of togetherness at Christmas or listen to the harmony of Christmas carols? Would we still celebrate with each other by holding open houses?
What would Malaysia be like if we all belonged to only one ethnic group, one religious tradition?
Can we still call this country Malaysia?
Would we still be Malaysian?
let us add value,
Have A Meaningful Hari Malaysia
As featured in THE STAR tomorrow
The previous “What Malaysians Want Series “were:
Peaceful and non-disruptive demonstrations that get the point across
A Social Contract
Politicians who cooperate and compete to make Malaysia a better place http://letusaddvalue.blogspot.com/2009/04/have-meaningful-vaisakhi.html
Development Without Corruption
A First-Rate Education
Monday, September 14, 2009
Create a blog entry titled "Meme: Save Yvonne's Sight"
List three things you love to see. Add in the picture of Yvonne's book cover. The URL is http://www.yvonnefoong.com/images/banner/my-story.jpg
End with the line, "Yvonne Foong is in danger of losing her eyesight thanks to neurofibromatosis (NF). Please find out how you can help her by visiting her blog at http://www.yvonnefoong.com
Tag 5 blog friends. Be sure to copy the rules, OK?
If you have a Facebook account, please check out Ellen's new invention, a "feme" pronounced FEEM, a meme designed for Facebook here. And if you want to blog about NF, that would be great too!
2. Pah Nur http://lunchatthelakeclub.blogspot.com
3. Wilfred Yeo http://wilfred-yeo.blogspot.com
4. Hoong Ling http://hoongling.blogspot.com
5. Art Harun http://art-harun.blogspot.com
Friday, September 11, 2009
I was in a press conference this morning where a group of individuals led by Rev Sivin Kit got together and do something special this Hari Malaysia September 16th, 2009.
The idea is to fast for peace together regardless of our race, religion, background or where we come from. Coincidentally, we at Zubedy is organizing our yearly Hari Malaysia celebration with a similar theme.
Here is Sivin’s message,
A few friends met up some days ago and in talking about events that have happened in the country in the past year, came up with this idea: what if on Malaysia Day we all fast for peace for our nation? The idea grew into a plan and now, it has become a nationwide call for action.
"Fast for the Nation, Peace for Malaysia" is our response to this call. Please read below and join us:
Malaysia is a peaceful country and it should remain that way forever. Acts of Violence and inciting hatred must have no place in our public life.
Unfortunately, too many cruelties and injustices have happened since the nation’s last birthday.
It is tempting to slip into despair or become revengeful. Let us turn our anger and sadness into a positive force for change.
This September 16, let us all combine our efforts to present a meaningful gift for Malaysia on her 46th birthday.
Let us be united in one single action. Let us all fast from dawn to dusk for peace in this blessed land. Let the Muslims amongst us fast with a specific prayer for peace for the nation. Let the Bahais, Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Sikhs, Taoists, followers of other spiritual traditions and atheists amongst us fast in solidarity and the same determination for peace.
Let our common experience of hunger and human weakness humble, strengthen and unite us.
Let us offer a hospitable smile to people we know and especially to those we don’t.
Let us perform one extra act of kindness while fasting on this Malaysia day.
Let us show our love and compassion for each other.
Let Malaysia be a better country on her 46th birthday and every day after.
Let Malaysia be truly happy and peaceful this September 16.
And so we fast.
. . . . . . to make room for peace!
Things you can do and How do you join?:
- Sign up.
e-mail your pledge to fast on Sept 16, 2009, to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
or SMS to 016-9707966
or leave a comment at http://peace4msia.blogspot.com/
(If you want, you may include your age and location)
- Forward this e-mail to your circle of friends, family and colleagues. Please try to get your friends and family from outside the Klang Valley to sign up as well
- Break fast (or have the pre-fast meal) together wherever your location is and send pics and caption to: email@example.com
- Here are the standard recommendations which you may modify according to your preferences, medical conditions and other circumstances.
- Get a group of at least three people.
- Have your pre-fast meal together before dawn (e.g. before 5.35am for Muslims*). The meal is preferably vegetarian to be inclusive to all.
- Carry out your daily duties and tasks as usual.Smile and do an extra act of kindness to people around you or afar.
- Share your message of peace with every curious person.Break your fast together after dusk(e.g. after 7.25 pm for Muslims*).
- The meal is preferably vegetarian to be inclusive to all.
- Share your experience, feeling and thought in this national fasting exercise with more people, in every possible way.
Plotting goodness with friends,
On behalf of "Fast for the Nation, Peace for the Nation 2009" Core Group
Thursday, September 10, 2009
When episodes as bad and as unacceptable as the cow-head incident takes place be it against Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Sikhism, Baha’I or any spiritual traditions, it is important that well respected leaders and individuals from the ‘offensive party’ must make a clear stand in unison against it.
This is when we need to rise above politics.
As in the current case, a united stand in the form of a Joint Declaration or better still a joint press conference condemning the act from the following individuals/parties would be most useful in sending a clear message to the offenders.
1. Yang Di Pertuan Agong and all the Sultans
2. All the State Muftis
3. PM Najib
4. DPM Muhyidin
5. Uztaz Hadi
6. Tok Guru Nik Aziz
7. Saudara Anwar Ibrahim
And We made them leaders, guiding (men) by Our Command, and We sent them inspiration to do good deeds, to establish regular prayers, and to practice regular charity; and they constantly served Us (and Us only). (Quran 21:73)
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Sunday, September 6, 2009
Saturday, September 5, 2009
- Two men, to out-macho each other, they whacked each other's partners?
- BN and PR, trying to out do each other but ends up screwing the Rakyat especially in Perak?
- Pas and Umno trying to out-Islam each other by beating up Muslim women like Kartika ?
- Ong Tee Keat and Chua Soi Lek screwing up MCA members?
- Or, all of the above?
Your may just simply list down the answers by indicating the number/s or better still provide a rationale. Thank you :)
Friday, September 4, 2009
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
I tot to write about time, but pah Nur beat me to it. Its fun to read her writing, read herehttp://lunchatthelakeclub.blogspot.com/2009/08/lrtq-2-your-time-or-mine-prologue.html
Syed's post on allegories, analogies and similitutes is interesting especially if you consider that the Quran in Arabia, surrounded with desert, read here http://syedsoutsidethebox.blogspot.com/2009/08/allegories-analogies-or-similitudes-in.html
Poetic Justice will give you a good feel on fasting and it's significance, read here http://nizambashir.com/?p=736