Monday, August 28, 2006

Compete for virtues not vice

August 28, 2006

The King's Humility

One day a sage came to a King for an interview. The sage had to wait for a long time because the King was very busy. Finally, the King said he could come in.

When the sage entered the hall, the first thing he did was to take off his hat and bow to the King. Immediately the King took off his crown and bowed to the sage. The ministers and others who were around the King asked, "What are you doing? He took off his hat because he is an ordinary man. But you are the King. Why should you have to take off your crown?"

The King said to his ministers, "You fools, do you think I wish to remain inferior to an ordinary man? He is humble and modest. His humility is a peerless virtue'. He showed his respect to me. If I did not take off my crown, then I would be showing less humility than an ordinary man, an d I would be defeated by him. If I am the King, I should be better than everybody in everything. That is why I took off my crown and bowed to him!”

(from Illumination-Experiences on Indian Soilby Sri Chinmoy)

Moral of the story

It is becoming an accepted norm in today’s world to compete for vice rather than virtues.

We often compete with one another for the wrong reasons like acquiring of wealth, power, position,glamour and superiority.

It would be better for us to compete for humility and love. If only we do these our society will be a better place.

Dr.Chris Anthony

Religion cause of violence?

Akbar,a King for all

In a world plagued by hatred,war and violence, where man is killing one another in the name of race and religion, a story about a man who lived on this earth in the 16thcentury captured my attention as it brings some comfort and hope to our hearts, filled with pessimism and despair.

The story below,taken from The Moghul Emperors by Sri Chinmoy illustrates the magnanimity of this great Moghul Emperor of India, who although a Muslim, had great respect and love for his subjects of different faiths.

“In the course of his rule Akbar came to hear about Mirabai, a great devotee of Lord Krishna. The bhajans that she sang became known throughout the length and breadth of India. Akbar decided to go and see her for himself.

His advisers discouraged him from going to visit Mirabai saying “Her husband,Prince Bhoja Raj, had always been a worst enemy of your rule. If Your Highness go to see Mirabai,you would be risking your life as well as that of Mirabai”.

But Akbar was determined to go. He said, "I will not go as the Emperor with my army. I will go in disguise."

So he and his court musician, Tansen, dressed themselves in ochre robes like wandering “sannyasins”. In this disguise, they approached the temple where Mirabai was worshipping. In the temple, devotees were singing and dancing. Right in the centre was Mirabai, singing most soulfully.

Akbar and Tansen were deeply moved by Mirabai's beautiful voice beautiful voice and her soulful prayers to God.

To show his gratitude, Akbar placed a diamond necklace at the feet of Mirabai's little statue of Lord Krishna. Those who were present were amazed at the mendicant's gesture. They wondered if perhaps somebody quite rich had come in the form of a mendicant. After Akbar had made his offering, he and Tansen quietly slipped away.”

Akbar was least perturbed that he was honoring Mirabai and her Lord Krishna.To him talent has to be praised whoever possessed it.

Although he was a Muslim, he liked the Hindu spirituality and culture immensely. At his court, he retained all kinds of talented and extraordinary people from various religions. Akbar always appreciated good qualities in others.

He used to confer with representatives of all the major religions of his vast empire. He even combined the highest truths of each to form a new "religion" suitable for all, named the Divine Faith.

But this proved to be too great a task for even Akbar the Great, and like many great men; he too died without realizing his fond dream.
Akbar’s ways may be outdated but the principles behind his actions remain relevant till today.

The world today is in dire need for leaders like him, who possess a passion for the humanity, regardless of race or creed.

Will mankind ever get leaders like Akbar the Great? We do not see one now.Until we are bestowed with leaders with such wisdom, the human race will continue to experience the horror of war and violence.

Dr.Chris Anthony

Police must be people friendly

Monday August 28, 2006

A more people-friendly police force needed to help reduce crime

THE announcement by Home Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Radzi Sheikh Ahmad that the Government was considering training People’s Volunteer Corps (Rela) members to help police tackle the escalating number of snatch thefts may be a good idea but it is not the best solution to the problem, “Rela to fight snatch thieves” (The Star, Aug 24).

Rela members are already operating in crime-prone areas in the Klang Valley but the incidence of snatch thefts in those areas has not reduced significantly.
They may be called in to help the police to fight crime but the main responsibility lies with the police force which must not take this as an excuse to abdicate their duty to protect the people at all cost.

The police must make their presence felt more effectively all over the country.
One of the major drawbacks of the police is that the people are not able to easily reach them in times of need.

They are strangers to the police personnel who do not have any rapport with them. As a result, the people are subjected to so much red tape with the police.
Every attempt must be made to make our police force more people-friendly.
One way to bring them closer to the people is to decentralise the police service and administration.

Every district should be subdivided and mini-police stations with sufficient personnel must be made available.

By doing so more personal and friendly ties can be effectively established between the police and the people in an area.
This would be the best way to reduce crime in that community.

A larger recruitment into the police force may be required to do this but it will be an investment the nation would never regret.

In fact to train Rela members, providing them extra allowances and insurance cover and compensation for injuries or deaths, also incur a large budget.

A crime-free atmosphere is of utmost importance for enhancing economic activities.


Police force must be commited to fight crime

I refer to your front page report “Crime watch widens” (Star,August 7)

Most Malaysians would be happy that the police have finally awakened from their slumber to realize the unacceptably high crime rate prevalent in the country, especially in the federal capital.

What is distressing is that the majority of these victims are innocent students who are often killed for petty theft and due to no fault of theirs. Of greater concern is the complacent attitude of the police to these crimes. We do not see any urgency and seriousness in their actions to thwart the crimes.

By being prepared to install closed-circuit television cameras (CCTV) all over the country, prime minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, appears to appreciate the gravity of the crime situation in the country. While his concerns must be commended, I feel installation of the CCTV is not the top priority now.

The single most important measure to prevent crime is the attitude of our police force. They must get rid of the “tidak apa” attitude and come up with a serious, no nonsense nation wide action plan to put an immediate stop to the escalating crime rate in the country.

All other measures such as CCTV, Rakan Cop, Rukun Tettanga and so on can only complement the strong physical presence of the police at hot spots. These by themselves, without a determined police force, will be useless in the fight against crime.

Protecting the rakyat should be the top priority of our police force. They must send a strong message, to the criminals, in no uncertain terms, that they are resolved to do this by whatever means available to them.There should be no compromise on this very vital role of our police force.

Strict enforcement of existing laws without fear or favour is the only sure way to reduce crime.

Dr.Chris Anthony

Friday, August 18, 2006

Medical Act - Education not laws is the solution

It is commendable that our Health Minister is so concerned for the emergency treatment of acute cases, especially accident victims. I fully support his moves to equip all clinics with the facilities for basic resuscitation of emergency cases. I am sure most doctors would welcome his endeavors.

All clinics must be equipped with basic gadgets like intravenous drip sets and oxygen for use in dire emergencies. They must be ensured to be in working condition at all times, which regrettably may not be the case even in many of our hospitals and ambulances.

Moreover the doctors must be responsible enough to attend to the patient and make necessary arrangements to transfer him to the nearest hospital as quickly as possible.

At the same time Dr.Chua must remember that treatment of major emergencies requires the expertise of specialists and modern equipment. The duty of the clinic will be to resuscitate and transfer him to a bigger centre as soon as possible. The patient should not be stranded in a clinic for too long, as that would result in irreversible damage and poor prognosis.

In this context it would be wise for the ministry to come up with better rescue operations especially in areas that are prone to accidents. Mobile units properly staffed and equipped with resuscitating facilities must establish as in advanced countries. It is not uncommon to see the arrival of an ambulance that is ill-equipped and inadequately staffed to render proper resuscitation to a seriously injured victim.

Dr.Chua argues the Private Healthcare Facilities and Services Act 1998 is necessary to enforce basic standards are met in all clinics but the Act includes so many provisions that are more than just to fulfill those noble aims. The detailed structural requirements of the clinic, elaborate paperwork for registration and maintenance of the clinic, the additional payments required and above all the threat of punishment with exorbitant fines and imprisonment are beyond the comprehension of members of the medical profession. This drives us to wonder whether there are other sinister motives why the Ministry is so adamant in enforcing the Act.

What is needed is education, training and proper incentives for doctors to adhere to a quality and ethical medical practice. Enforcement of stringent laws will not bring any permanent and lasting results; rather it would invite abuse and corruption.

It may be better for the rakyat and the nation as a whole if the ministry spends more time and energy to look into the numerous problems that plague our government hospitals such avoidable morbidity and mortality, long waiting time for basic investigations and specialized treatment, exodus of experienced trained staff, just to name a few.

Dr.Chris Anthony

Thursday, August 17, 2006

National day and patriotism

National day, more than flying of flags

As we approach our national day on 31.8.06, our national media is full of reports of the various ways people celebrate our hard earned independence. Various generations celebrate in ways peculiar to their own experiences in life in our beloved nation, as it turns 49 come this August 31.

To demonstrate our patriotism to the nation, we are encouraged to hoist the national flag in our homes, offices, shops and on cars. It is becoming increasingly more common to see cars fully draped in the beautiful colors of the Jalur Gemilang. Some of our politicians even go to the extent of castigating those who do not hoist the national flag as being unpatriotic and ungrateful for what the country has done for them.

In schools our children are asked to wave flags as they sing the national anthem and other patriotic songs. Almost daily the schools organize assemblies, eloquent speeches and other activities towards this end. Being children as they are, most of them are very happy to participate in all these as they create an environment of festivities during the month of August each year.

Is national day all about waving the national flag, singing patriotic songs, having parades and tea parties? Definitely it transcends these physical expressions of joy of our independence. It should be a day to recollect our achievements and failures over the years since independence. While celebrating our victories it is also the time to resolve to right the wrongs in our country.

A number of issues need to be urgently addressed; otherwise all our achievements will come to naught. Some of theses include the deteriorating racial and religious tolerance, rampant corruption, high road accident rate, unacceptably high crime rate, unavailability of affordable quality education, costly basic health care, poverty, unemployment, arrogant and indifferent civil service, lack of freedom of expression and respect for human rights and alarming deterioration of moral and human values.

As loyal citizens we must ask ourselves how we can contribute to the peace and harmony in a multi-racial and multi-religious country. To make “merdeka” more meaningful for the rakyat, serious concerted efforts by all parties must be made to correct these wrongs in our society.

Displaying flags, singing patriotic songs, wearing special costumes, participating in parades and banquet are just superficial displays of patriotism.These do not instill true and lasting patriotism. Nationalism and patriotism are not inborn in us. They should be cultivated from an early age just like how parents nurture them in their children..

The nation, like parents, must provide for her citizens all the necessary needs before it can expect undivided patriotism and loyalty.Only with the provision of the basic needs, can true patriotism develop in the people.

Dr.Chris Anthony

Racial composition in schools must be balanced

Political will needed to correct racial disparity

All Malaysians should rally behind Raja Muda of Perak Raja Dr Nazrin Shah in his call for a more balanced racial composition of school leaders, teachers and students that would reflect the multi-racial composition of the nation. We hope more leaders would come forward to echo his call to urge the government to implement this restructuring without delay.

Schools should have a conducive and balanced environment and the government must have the political will to handle this well and not make it a racial issue. The racial prejudice and intolerance in any society can be greatly diluted by ensuring a racially balanced population in that society.

We have witnessed this phenomenon in our own country. Most Malaysians will agree that there was more ethnic and religious tolerance in the sixties and over the years it has eroded slowly but surely. The schools and civil service then had a balanced ratio of the various races all going about their jobs harmoniously.

Today we seem to be happy to stay isolated, helping and interacting within our own individual communities. Our children hardly work and play together as Malaysians.

This unfavorable situation has to change and it has to start early in school. Racial unity and harmony are assets that must be taught to be treasured and cherished.

After years of racial segregation, it would be a monumental task ahead to redirect the education system in right direction towards fostering racial integration and tolerance in our schools. The first step in this endeavor will be to correct the racial disparity of teachers and students in all our schools.

We hope we will have the political will to persevere until we succeed.

Dr.Chris Anthony

Have courage to right the wrongs

June 23, 2006

Have courage to right the wrongs

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi recently called on the Muslim world and the Christian West to be honest and rational with each other and for both sides to have the courage to right the wrongs was timely and appropriate.

While his call to the international community was encouraging, it is also appropriate for our own leaders at all levels to take heed of his call to have the moral courage to right the wrongs in our own country.

As we call on the powerful West to be considerate to the plight of the poorer nations in their political and economical dealings, our government too should seriously look to the problems of the poor and the marginalized communities in the country. It has to rethink of its policies towards the minority groups, in the way they are denied the basic constitutional rights like education, health, job opportunities and religious freedom.

Wrongs in the country exist in the form of poverty, corruption, abuse of power, racial polarization, rising cost of living, increasing crime rates and a fading voice of the rakyat.The leaders and the rakyat must have the courage to right these wrongs. It is a moral duty of us all.

We should support the prime minister’s call on the media to muffle the voices of those who preach extremism and hatred and at the same time allow and encourage legitimate and constructive criticisms to be aired for the betterment of the nation. There should be no hesitation to take stern punitive action against those who advocate extremism and hatred in whatever form.

There is a dire need to stress the importance of dialogue to settle differences peacefully as that is what is demanded by all faiths.

Our own church community is riddled with some these wrongs such as racial segregation, selfishness, greed and like fading voice of the people. More and more things are done against the wishes of the people without their consultation. We should solve our internal problems in the way we want the government to solve ours with them.

As Christians, by our thoughts and actions we must strive to become the conscience in the hearts of those who are against us otherwise we would be no different from those whom we accuse of wrong doings.

Dr.Chris Anthony

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