25 January 2010

The articles are captured from the original writer, MsMarina (with her permission). SambalBelacan is just compiling articles to make easier to find. Any comments received will remain un-respond because it's not mine.Reach her at her very own blog at http://rantingsbymm.blogspot.com/ Please.

Wednesday January 20, 2010
Thank goodness for the cool heads

Following the ‘Allah’ court ruling, many ordinary folks reached out to each other in peace despite differences in opinion.

ANDRE Malraux, the French writer and statesman, once said that “the first duty of a leader is to make himself be loved, without courting love. To be loved without ‘playing up’ to anyone, even to himself ”.

My interpretation is that a good leader is one who doesn’t sit around trying to find ways for people to love him or her but does the right thing for his country and people and hope they will see the justification for it, and eventually love him or her.

That may not take place in his or her lifetime. But, as they say, history will be the judge.

In the last two weeks or so, what we have seen is a leadership that has only been interested in courting love and playing up to people.

Nothing could have been so blatant in catering to an unruly crowd than the permission to hold demos against a court decision.

What sort of justice system do we have if anyone can disrespect court decisions by holding demos against them? There are legal avenues to pursue: why do we not educate people to do just that?

Some of the explanations are just disingenuous.

To say that a ban is necessary as a “pre-emptive move to prevent violence” shows that either politicians think their people are natural hooligans or they know already that violence may be planned.

Indeed, not much violence apart from shouting and screaming happened. But even so, we hear no comment from our leaders on this type of behaviour.

After 52 years, is this considered acceptable?

These demos also occurred after the first church was attacked. Not only did our leaders take more than 24 hours to visit the site of the attack but they also issued no call to cancel demos for propriety’s sake.

Indeed, one demonstrator even went so far as to call for churches to be burnt! Not a word was heard about that from our leaders.

It was the public itself who were more sensible. Not only did they refuse to participate in the demos, even if they may have been unhappy about the ruling, but at one mosque, they actively tried to dissuade anyone from joining any call to demonstrate.

Individuals went on their own to console church leaders and reassured them that they or their premises would not be harmed.

Islamic NGOs offered to guard the churches, although it’s hard to forget that they are also the ones, who had raised the temperature around the issue.

Thus far, no government leader has straightforwardly said that not only is the burning of any house of worship against the law, but it is also un-Islamic.

Some people have said that this would mean accusing Muslims of conducting the attacks when nobody is sure yet who they are.

In which case, there can be no greater priority for the police than to catch the perpetrators, if only to clear the names of the race and religion.

It has been the ordinary people again who have reached out in peace towards each other, determined that despite differences of opinion, they want to see our country remain peaceful and stable.

Thus young people connected via social media organised, within a very short space of time, a peace offering project to tell people that “everything’s gonna be alright”, discrediting a government minister’s warning that social media does very little good.

Others wrote peace messages on ribbons. One young singer was moved to write and record a beautiful song because she was so distressed by what was happening.

The peace-builders are ordinary citizens who are refusing to be taken in by political games.

Sadly, it is clear that there are too few of our leaders engaged in building peace among our people, but they are in fact more interested in keeping us divided.

Even such peace offerings seem more divisive, giving rights to some and not to others. There can never be peace without equality. Just ask the Palestinians.

Ultimately, it is a question of education. This whole sad episode only highlights the many gaps in our knowledge.

Not only do we know so little about the world, we don’t even know much about our fellow citizens across the sea in east Malaysia. Neither do we know much about each other’s religions.

The reason we have had relatively little violence is because the non-Muslim community has leadership that insisted that they turn the other cheek and pray instead.

Can we trust in the Muslim leadership to do the same if the shoe was on the other foot?

Or are we like Adolf Hitler who said, “What luck for rulers that men do not think?.”

11 January 2010

The articles are captured from the original writer, MsMarina (with her permission). SambalBelacan is just compiling articles to make easier to find. Any comments received will remain un-respond because it's not mine.Reach her at her very own blog at
http://rantingsbymm.blogspot.com/ Please.
Wednesday January 6, 2010
Mysterious people in need of rules

There will be those who will be confused, others who will act without restraint, rampaging freely and causing havoc ... they are faceless strangers we have yet to meet.

RECENTLY I conducted a workshop with some university students in which I asked them for ideas on how to protect young women from violence and HIV.

One idea that came up was to fence and guard women’s hostels on campuses to prevent men from entering. I then asked the young man who suggested this if, without fences, he would not be able to restrain himself from entering the women’s hostels.

“I didn’t mean me,” he replied, “but other people…”

I often hear that we need laws, rules and regulations because there are people who are bound to need them. Without these, such mysterious people are bound to act without restraint, rampaging freely and causing havoc in society.

Yet when I ask anyone whom do they mean by these others, they don’t mean anybody they know. They are inevitably some strangers with weak constitutions that they have yet to meet.

The same is true of that insidious thing called self-censorship. We are constantly afraid that “someone” will get offended, so we make sure that everything we write, say, or do is so devoid of any possibility of offence that it becomes bland and dull.

The trouble with this thinking is two-fold: one is that there is only one group of people we think will be offended, and two, we know that there are some people within that group who will make it their business to seek offence and insults wherever they can.

Are people’s lives so empty that it can only be filled with imagining other people are out to hurt them? And why are they so easily wounded at all?

I find it especially puzzling when people are constantly finding their faith, which should be so personal, attacked at every juncture. Yet presumably, between Dec 31 and Jan 1, their beliefs have not changed because of what happened in court.

But it’s not about them, they say, it’s about all those poor ignorant souls, including children, who will become confused. One wag wondered how to explain why his child has to fast and pray five times a day when their friends call God by the same name but don’t have to.

Well, if parents cannot explain the basic tenets of their religion to their own child, then it’s not anyone else’s fault that the child gets confused.

Similarly, if there are sections of any faith community that have muddled ideas about which is their religion and which is others’, then surely that is the fault of their own community rather than others.

I don’t understand what is so edifying about claiming that we are always weak and easily confused. How do we on the one hand claim a superior position for our faith when at the same time we admit that we can be so easily influenced? Are the fortifications that we built for ourselves in our hearts and consciences so fragile?

Oh, but I forget, it’s not us we are talking about, it’s those people, that mysterious group of weaklings and ignoramuses that we have to stand up for. Funny, doesn’t it say in the Quran that we all have to answer for ourselves eventually?

If we constantly tell people that their faith is weak, it will become exactly that. If we say that every little thing, including language, the sound of church bells, or where temples are located, can challenge our faith, then they will feel challenged.

If we keep telling them that confusion will reign, they will believe that. Not for themselves but for some imaginary members of their faith community.

Yet, if we polled every single person to ask if they felt confused, they would deny it. Thus, on whose behalf do we bust our guts for in these issues?

Could it be that in fact it’s impossible to know what anyone’s true faith is, because only God can read anyone’s heart? That it is redundant for anyone to try and legislate faith because it is simply not the province of human beings? All we can do is try and make people behave in an orderly fashion.

There are surely more important things to occupy our minds than whether any of our brethren may misread something.

In other countries, our so-called religious kinfolk are killing each other by the dozens, no doubt invoking God’s name as they do so. Others are illiterate, starving or dying from preventable diseases.

Demonstrating over a court decision about a word is the privilege of the healthy and prosperous.