Thursday, January 14, 2010

A glimmer of hope for Tolerance

The recent events in Malaysia have triggered a form of sectarianism like never expected before in this nation. A court verdict which gave the green light for the usage of the term in the Arabic language to describe G-D by the Christians triggered an uproar of anger within the religious majority of the nation. Though at first the anger was confined to non-violent methods like demonstrations and blog articles it soon turned violent when extremist elements within the society brought the simmering conflict to a different level.
A day after the killing of 6 parishioners outside a church in the intolerant nation of Egypt, Malaysia was seeing its own share of religious intolerance. The Metro Tabernacle Church in the periphery of KL city was arsoned. Soon more attacks followed and in 5 days almost 9 churches nationwide were attacked. As Christians nationwide thronged the gates of heavens with pleas and prayers, a whirlwind of thoughts overwhelmed me. Is our fate sealed like that of the Mustaarabi Jews who contributed so much to the Arab nations but were at last disowned by their own governments? The semangat perpaduan which I upheld as my principle in life was almost at the brink of shattering. Am I supposed to leave this beloved land, the only place I call “home” just because of my religious affiliation? Questions ran in and out of my mind, bringing me to a standstill.

These notions of mine were silenced when I read the “Star” paper yesterday (13/1/10).I was filled with surprise when I saw the picture on the first page. There right in front of me was a photo of Muslims in their traditional Baju Melayu and headgear called the songkok standing in front of a church which I presume was a Catholic church guarding it against attacks from extremists! I was so surprised and overwhelmed with joy. I immediately showed the article to my mom and it too invoked the same feelings in her. Awe and surprise. I flipped through the pages and I saw another picture which caught my attention. It was about a middle aged Indian Muslim blogger who raised RM8500 for the rebuilding of the Metro Tabernacle Church. I felt joy and awe when I read the article and saw the great responsibility the Muslims in the nation felt towards the Christian community even though the attacks were not perpetrated by them but by extremist elements.

Even MCA (Malaysian Chinese Association),a political body offered its support by letting the Pentecostal faithful of Metro Tabernacle Church use MCA’s hall for worship services.As a Christian Malaysian seeing this outpouring of concern from Malaysians of different backgrounds, I felt that my fellow citizens of different races and religions were treating me and the wider Christian community as one of them,as part and parcel of their family, as a Malaysian.
Indeed this incident has shed light on the fact that we Malaysian are united as one. We do not see each other as Malay, Chinese, or Indian but ultimately as Malaysians only. We love each other and cherish the differences which make us uniquely Malaysian! So I guess the flame of tolerance which is embedded in every Malaysian’s soul will continue burning for generations to come. No one,no matter who it may be can extinguish this spirit of tolerance which has propelled our nation for this long. Malaysia Boleh!

The island paradise in the Carribean

The unspoilt queen of the Carribean.Saba an island,the smallest in fact of the Netherlands Antilles is a paradise of its own.I have never personaly been there before but judging from the photos on the net and the travel videos I am more than sure this island of 1500 inhabitants is indeed paradise.Take a look!