Jul 29, 2013

lost not found: mutual respect

Saw some photos of school kids eating in/near the toilet shower room last week. Why? It is fasting month, the canteen was not open and they were told that they shouldn't eat in front of their fasting classmates. So the school told them to eat next to the toilet. You can google for it if you want to know more. Since then, many versions and explanations were given and the matter seemed to have been 'resolved'. Sort of.

But what I would like to ask is: why the huge uproar when the news first broke? My own reaction when I first read about the new was WTF!! Then, it was "not surprised that it happened in MY".. finally, "MY, truly Asia my ass!".. I might have been over-reacted, but I do believe many share my sentiment. Don't get me wrong, the people of MY do live in harmony and we all get along very well but when the government and/or public service gets involved, things may not be what they seem.

The incident is sad, yet not unexpected. The government and the civil service often forgets that the country doesn't just belong to ONE single race. The tagline for Tourism MY(aka "MY, Truly Asia") is but a sham. The "we are all one big happy family" facade that the government is trying to sell to the world is not really genuine. We the people know better. Among the common folks, racial and religious differences are not issues of contention. Corruption is. Nepotism is. Discrimination is. Unfortunately, after decades of racial incitement and brain-washing by the government, there is no lack of Malay supremacists who think Chinese and Indians should all go back to "Tiong-shan" and India.

In order to show "who's the boss", the government encourages the civil service, including schools and institutes of higher learning, though not explicitly, to discriminate against non-Malays. They try to out-holy the (political) oppositions by showing how they are willing to push the envelope ever further when it comes to enforcing the Syariah laws, even onto the non-Muslims. These overzealous puppets clamber over each other to show who is a 'better' follower (or should I say spineless ass-kisser) by implementing half-baked, idiotic policies. Their emphasis on empty forms and charades does nothing to foster harmony and mutual respect. Personally, I have no issue with the insistent of all these 'wayang' because I know these are nothing more than elaborate pretenses. When there's no substance, there'll be lots of ostentatious rhetoric. 

I've always believed that what your religion commands you to do is your personal business. If and how you do it is between you and your GOD. The act of fasting is to remind oneself of the suffering of those less fortunate. It is also a test of one's fortitude against temptation and faith. Rather than asking people to bent over backwards for you just because you are fasting, you should go about your life normally and show HIM (your God) that you are able to be steadfast and unyielding in your faith while you fast. Won't you feel more virtuous and sanctified when you are able to resist temptation?

There is a huge difference between in making sure no temptation exist so that you will not be tested thus will not fail and facing such temptations head-on knowing so that you may test your resilience. Which is more venerated?? Facing and conquering/failing or avoiding and hiding from temptations? Why did you think that most beloved saints (like St Francis of Assisi, whose name the current Pope took) or holy men/women (like Mother Teresa) were those who lives among common people, 'bad' ones especially, and not just hide away in some caves/mountains so that they would not be tempted. Whether you are a 'good' Muslim/Buddhist/Christians/etc or not, that is between you and your God.

I don't want to talk too much about religion, especially this one. It makes no sense to me that lesser sins that disturb no one but himself/herself (like not fasting, not praying, etc.) are overemphasized while bigger ones that may affect the society/community (like corruption, misuse of power, etc) are overlooked/covered-up.

All I have to say is: If you believe there is a God, be prepared to be judged. God knows, even when (you think) others don't.

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