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.