Do not allow perpetrators to break the egg

The common view among a lot of people is that there is a group with an agenda to fan emotions and stir up racial tension in the recent spades of asttacks against the various places of worship. Of course, we do not know for sure whether such views are true, and the best way is to have transparency in the investigations and prosecutions of those caught.

If these views are true, then these people are playing a very dangerous game.

Malaysian society is like an egg held between the thumb and the index finger.A slight pressure may rupture it; a slip of the fingers may drop it; a knock will break it.

In any case, the authority needs to act fast to catch the culprits and at the same time, use the massive publicity machines to explain to the people and calm emotions down.

Luckily, Malaysians are no more like their forefathers a few decades ago. They are better informed, better educated and more analytical . So far, the perpetrators have failed in their bid to arouse dangerous emotions. But, if there are such people, they have to  be caught fast, otherwise they might in their subsequent attempts break the figurative ‘egg’ that I mentioned above.

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In order not to let those who have a hidden agenda to turn this religious issue into something ugly, there is a need for the various religious leaders to come to the table and talk to each other.

I wish to call for the setting up of a Interfaith Council where frank discussions on religions can be held.

It is not enough to have just an unofficial dialogue and contact, because the impact would be much much less than a Interfaith Council.

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I was heartened by the joint statement issued by BN and PR youth. This issue should transcend all parties and by issuing a joint statement, it will go a long way to calm emotions down, and pre-empt certain interest groups of trying to fan emotions further.

Senseless and dangerous act!

I was shocked and sadden by the reports that pig heads have been found left at a mosque.

This is a senseless act to provoke and fan emotions. The people doing this are treading on a very dangerous ground and playing with fire.

All right minded Malaysians must unite and condemn this act of cowardice, similar to earlier acts of trying to burn churches and suraus.

I urge  the police to act fast to  catch the culprits  and at the same time  take steps to prevent such acts from occurring again.

Malaysians should realize that all of us, regardless of colour and faith,  are living in the same boat, and such acts are akin to setting fire and dragging the whole boat down.

If we treasure our peace and freedom, we should all refrain from further fanning sentiments by resorting to such senseless and dangerous acts.

Help fellow human beings , the Haiti people

I appeal to all who read this blog to donate to the Haiti quake victims.

A buddhist organisation , TzuChi, is organising fund raising for the victims.

http://english.tzuchi.my/

The account number and the bank is posted there.

Where is the beef?

There is a total lack of firm leadership in the management of the recent religious issue. After the court judgement was passed, a minister was quoted to say that government could not do much if people wanted to demonstrate, and that statement, whether correctly quoted or not, had given an impression that some of the top leaders of the country are encouraging people to show their emotions.

If  the leadership has instead  tried to calm  people ‘s sentiments down and explained to their people that the generic term has been used by the natives of East Malaysia for many many years even before Merdeka, things might not have come to this state. The ground perception is that only when the first church was burned, the leadership started to realise the seriousness of the situation, and tried  to calm emotions down.

UMNO messed up the whole issue and missed the boat, while PAS has taken the middle ground, even though there is a segment within PAS feeling very uneasy about their party stand. Apparently, one of the reasonings that PAS leaders used to address their supporters’ unease and disagreement is that the means justify the end result, which is to win GE13 and form the next Federal government , and with that they thought they could have a better chance to realise their ultimate aim of a Islamic State.

If PAS can move to the middle ground, why could not UMNo do so, especially when it is advocating 1Malaysia?

I think there are a lot of politicking within that party. The more conservative group is trying to use this issue to garner support  while the more liberal group is afraid that they might lose support if they are seen to be too liberal.(What goes round really comes around; it was not too long ago that the exTop leader  was pushed out in another power play, and now the top leader must be feeling the heat, too).

I think the position of their top leader is also not as strong as what people might have thought. But for the sake of the country, he should have taken a risk and gone ahead and be firm on this issue, revert back to status quo before the ban of the term, and call for the setting of a interfaith council to discuss the differences among the different faith.

The whole issue smacked of confusion and poor management. Now that there are strong feelings in both sides, it is virtually impossible for the issues to be resolved.

Whatever the Appeal Court decision, it would not please all sides.

With this issue, what little goodwill that the government has gained back has been all lost, and instead, it is now trying to use this issue to harness support from the more conservative Malays.

I hope there will be  cooler heads on both sides, and that there must be a continuing dialogue between the various groups, MINUS the politicians. The best setting is an Interfaith Council where frank discussions could be held.

We must also not forget that under the 20 points Agreement, Clause No 1. stated that “while there was no objection to Islam being the national religion of Malaysia there should be no State religion in North Borneo, and the provisions relating to Islam in the present Constitution of Malaya should not apply to North Borneo”. (Read the 20 points agreement here).

With this row, I see a lot of uncertainties have crept in the political arena, and the possibilities of realignment of political forces are now higher than ever.. Some of the more moderate and multiracial parties within BN would have done better in such an realignment if they are neutral and remain outside of the framework of BN.

I hope all sides would tread carefully and do not politicise this issue further and do not fan emotions further.

We need leaders to exert leadership on this aspect, and rein in their more extreme supporters on this issue. After all, a leader is supposed to lead, and not be led or swayed by the very supporters that they should be leading.

Most despicable acts

The attacks on churches , temples and suraus must be condemned by all right thinking Malaysians.

Religions teach us to be tolerant and compassionate. To resort to acts like throwing fire bombs at sacred places of worship is despicable and smacks of cowardice. Those who did this are not martyrs trying to protect their religions. They are misguided souls failing to understand the true meanings of religions.

These misguided souls are by-products when religions get mixed up with politics, and they become unwittingly tools that could be made use by people with ulterior motives.

I hope the police, who has been so commendable in arresting the church arsonists, will succeed in arresting these perpetrators.  They should be properly investigated and quickly charged to serve as  a deterent to other misguided souls.

In the meantime, religious teachers have a duty not to fan emotions but to calm down emotions and let cooler minds prevail, if they do not want to see Malaysia degenerate into a nation of confrontation and tic-for-tac fights.

What you see is not what you should believe

The new season of American Idol has started again.

Those of you who follow the series, like yours truthly, may have wonder how on Earth can the judges go through seemingly stadium full of contestants in a few days. In certain cities where they visit, the crowd can be as big as 6000 or 8000, and even if one contestant takes about 3 minutes, including walking into the audition room and going out (I am sure it is more than that), it would take more than 18000 to 24000 munites, 3o0 over hours. That is if the judges continuously audition, without rest in between, without going to the loos and so on. So in actual fact, the average time would more be like 5-6 minutes a person, and that would aat least take a few weeks to dispose of just one such crowd.

Well, what you see is not what is happening. Like many times at this modern time, what they show you is not what is actually happening.

In fact, the crowds in different cities are screened through by scouts, with each singing just a few bars , and the scouts will select a small portion of those who they think can sing, AND, also those who they think are the worst singers or performers or the most comical ones. This small group will then have to appear before the producers, who will further select the better and the worse ones to go before the judges. (see the report here)

What I am trying to convey is that in this so-called modern society, almost everything is staged. Perhaps it is due to the influence of Hollywood.

Even for those doing charity, you see them hoisting big mock checques, just to show people that so and so is making a donation to so and so.

In Malaysia, many events are staged, especially when it comes to getting votes. When election is near, you see the VIPs walking the round  and giving speeches in stadiums filled with people who are there because they are transported by buses and given incentives to be there. It is not because they like to go there on their own accord.

When a big shot is coming, the whole area will be spruced up , given a new coat of paint; and the staff who normally will spend hours in teh tarik stalls will suddenly be so diligent, serving the people and clients courteously and eagerly.

On another level, what the politicians say and what they believe inside their hearts are often so different. AN example is KJ, who was said to be a liberal before ascendancy of his Father-in-law, but his  speeches when he ruled the fourth floor smacked of  extremist and racist views . 

Many others who may have advocated a single stream school send their children to International schools, a stream that is not even supposed to cater fro Malaysians, but diplomats from other countries.

So, what you see or hear is often not what you should believe! That is life!  Malaysia or otherwise!

A passport to stay abroad

Had an opportunity to talk to a few students intending to do medicine in a private university offering twinning program to do medicine overseas.

I asked them, do you know what medicine is about? Do you know that a doctor’s life is not as rosy as many non medical people think? Do you know that it takes years of training to become a competent doctor and in the British system, to become a specialist takes many more years of hard work after the basic medical degree.

A few of them looked puzzled when I asked them these questions. When I asked them what made them think of taking up medicine, one of them gave the reply about doctors’ earnings. Finally, a smiling one confided that if they go overseas to study medicine, it would be their passports to stay behind whichever country they go to, since in most of the Western countries (Australia included even though it is down South), there is a shortage of doctors.

I suspect this is the main reason why suddenly so many people are taking the medical courses, and Malaysia has so now more medical schools than Australia, with UTAR also  joining in this year to offer MBBS degree.

These young people, for whatever reasons, want to leave their home country and settle down overseas.

In the past, Malaysians have always emigrated. Many Malaysians studied overseas, and some remained in those countries where they studied, but many did return.

For the past few years, there is a new trend that lesser and lesser of those who study overseas are coming home; and many of those who returned are mainly those who could not find employment overseas. For those who studied medicine, not many have returned. I have stated that none of my eldest 2 children classmates have returned home, and as far as I understand, none of their senior class returned home too.

Malaysia has lost the shine, so much i can say. with the economy stagnant, inflation overtaking increasing in earning,  polution and traffic jam getting worse, Malaysia is less liveable now than a decade or 2 before.

How do we expect these young and bright people, who could have helped re building the country, to come home when they can have much much better prospect of life and a better lifestyle overseas?

The only consolation is the food perhaps. We have one of the most varied food and it is still relatively cheap to eat out.

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