Saturday, August 27, 2011

Merdeka 54 – Where are we heading as a nation?

GE13 - need for clean,free and fair elections

The 54th year of Independence comes at a very crucial time in the history of our nation. It comes at a time when we are about to go into the most crucial general election in our history. There has never been so much excitement and uncertainties in any elections before. It is the first time in our history where the winner is so uncertain.

It is the first time when we have such a strong opposition to take on the mighty BN that has ruled with a firm hand for 54 years. It is the first time when the alternate cyber media, which has become well established, has become the most important tool to win the hearts and minds of the people. It is the first time when the people of all races and walks of life have realised the power of their vote to determine who governs for another term. There has never been such eagerness among the people to cast that all important vote as now. All these are signs of a thriving democracy which should be the pride of the nation.It is unfortunate that there are certain quarters that do not want to see the thriving of that democratic process with a free and fair elections,the fundamental pre-requisite for any democratic system.

The theme of this year’s Merdeka has been spelt out by the recent Bersih 2.0 rally where thousands of ordinary Malaysians of all ethnicity poured into the heavy fortified streets of Kuala Kumpur to demand for that basic right - clean, free and fair elections in their 8-point memorandum to the King.Yes,it is only appropriate that we adopt this “ clean, free and fair elections” as the theme for this year,for both Merdeka and Malaysia days. Such an election is paramount if we want our democracy to thrive.

It is ironical that after 53 years of self rule and 12 general elections Malaysians have to still resort to street marches to demand for free and fair elections. Of late a number of alleged irregularities have been revealed by the opposition,Bersih and other election watchdog groups. These which include phantom voters, cloned voters, non-citizens being on the voter’s list, immigrants given citizenship to vote and frauds in postal voting in particular in the Armed Forces.

Apart from these there are reports of corruption to entice voters, unfair media coverage of political parties and misuse of government funds and machinery for campaigns.The independence and impartiality of the EC had also come into question which undermines the basic requirements for free and fair elections. These allegations must be taken seriously by the EC and government and addressed with some urgency so as to correct them before the 13GE which many believe will be held very soon.

The pledge by the PM to form a Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) to act on these allegations may be encouraging but from what know his promise will just remain as one with no actions to fulfil that. As time is running and the elections looming what is needed urgently is not such a panel but a truly independent EC, police force, MACC and other enforcement agencies to implement the existing elections laws fairly and effectively without fear or favour.The EC must be supreme and subservient only to the King and all these agencies must not only be fair but also seen to be so in the eyes of the people.

After 54 years the nation is at the crossroads. The path it takes will very much depend on the outcome of the coming general elections. Its result must truly reflect the wishes of the people and in order to do that it must be conducted in a clean, free and fair manner where every single vote accounted for in a manner that will not cast doubts. Only then will the people accept whatever the outcome may be in a peaceful way that would reflect their political maturity.

The onus is on the government, EC and the various relevant institutions to ensure that the elections are conducted fairly. On our part let us vote with discern to elect the party that will take us into the future where citizens of all race and creed will be able to live peacefully and harmoniously finding a just and equitable place under the Malaysian sun and thereby realising the true goals of our Merdeka.

Charity transcends race and religion

The controversy over the alleged raid of the Damansara Utama Methodist Church(DUMN) by officers from Jabatan Agama Islam Selangor(Jais) highlights a very strange phenomenon where doing charity to fellow humans becomes a crime if done to those from another religion.

We all know that charity is the act of giving money; food or help free to those who are in need because they are ill, poor or have no home. All religions encourage this virtue of charity and in fact it is a basic tenet of every faith and it is a universal fact that charity must transcend race, religion and political ideology. The poor must be offered aid regardless of their race or creed as poverty has no borders.

Most of us regardless of the religion we belong too are at one time or another involved with some acts of charity, which is considered noble. Ironically today the virtue that was exalted all these years is at times seen as something terribly wrong. It is distressing that charity is increasing seen as a crime that must be punished.


Many years ago when I and my friends were actively involved in the society for the poor in our local church we used to visit the estates, squatter areas and new villages to provide all sorts of help to the poor in those areas.


Although we were not rich to provide much funds, the poor families benefitted from our little aid which was in the form of food rations, clothes, school books, educational and vocational guidance and free healthcare and other forms of assistance. There were also those who were given monthly allowance and special allowance to cope with tragedies in the family. Apart from this material assistance those who needed motivation were given moral support and counseling.


We were very careful not to talk about religion to these unfortunate people who will be vulnerable to conversion at times of desperation. Proselytizing was never our intention but helping poor humans regardless of race or religion was our only aim. We were strongly advised by our pastors against using material aid to the poor to entice them into our faith.


In the many years of working with them I have yet to come across one who converted to Christianity because of our aid to them. We respected the faith of these poor people as they did to ours. We never went to Malay kampongs but must admit that there were some of them who were desperate and did approach us for aid, which we could not reject just because of their faith or ethnicity. Visit to their homes revealed deplorable conditions under which they lived and denying any aid for them would be doing great injustice to fellow humans.


However the numbers of Muslims in our aid list dwindled with time, as they were able to get assistance from government agencies in due course. It has to be stressed we did not talk about religion at any time during our acquaintance with these poor people. In fact I for one strongly believe that it is wrong to convert anyone from one religion to another, as all faiths are the same in leading man to the one same God whom we call by different names.


When we were young we were taught that helping the poor is a noble act that should transcend race and creed. Today the basic teaching on charity has changed drastically. We are encouraged to help those from our own race and religion as helping others would be seen with suspicion and intruding into their affairs. It is as though it is all right to neglect our own people but wrong for others to help them. It appears as though there is a right time and place to do good to the right people as doing it at the wrong time and to the wrong people may lead us into trouble. Why should there be a right time, right place and person to do good? Shouldn’t good be done at all times, at all places and to all people?


Charity with ulterior motives is not true charity. Charity as a means to coax people to convert to their religion especially, the poor and desperate, is one that must be condemned by all. Real charity is one that is done with an open heart without any ulterior motives or benefits and is one that transcends race and religion. There should never be a wrong time or place to do good just like there should never be a right time to do bad either. In short charity should be unconditional and carried at all times to all those in deed.


It is morally wrong for the authorities to forbid the Christians or for that matter anyone else from aiding poor Muslims. The Christians are only doing what their religion teaches them – not to see the poor as what race or religion they are but as poor fellow humans who are in need. At the same time Christians should refrain from preaching to those from other faiths including Muslims as that would be disrespecting the other faiths, which is definitely wrong and could lead to all sorts of misunderstanding and ill feelings.


However as in any religion there are always overzealous members who could resort to such skewed thinking which is really regrettable. Education from an early age to forge respect for other religions should be way forward not confrontation and punishment.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

When charity becomes a crime

When charity becomes a crime

The ongoing controversy over the alleged raid of the Damansara Utama Methodist Church(DUMN) by Jais brings highlights a very strange phenomenon where doing charity becomes a crime that must be investigated and punished.


We all know that charrity is the act of giving money, food or help free to those who are in need because they are ill, poor or have no home. All religions encourage this virtue of charity and in fact it is a basic tenet of every faith. Most of us regardless of the religion we belong too are at one time or another involved with some acts of charity which is considered a noble. Ironically today the virtue that was exalted all these years is at times seen as something terribly wrong.It is distressing that chariry is increasing seen as a crime that must be punished.


Many years ago when I and my friends were actively involved in the Society for the poor in our church we used to visit the estates, squatter areas and new villages to provide all sorts of help to the poor in those areas.


Although we were not rich to provide much funds, the poor families benefitted from our little aid which was in the form of food rations, clothes, school books, educational vocational guidance and free healthcare, and other forms of assistance. There were also those who were given monthly allowance and special allowance to cope with tragedies in the family. Apart from this material assistance those who needed motivation were given moral support and counseling.


We were very careful not to talk about religion to these unfortunate people who will be vulnerable to conversion at times of desperation. Proselytizing was never our intention but helping poor humans regardless of race or religion was our only aim. We were strongly advised by our pastors against using material aid to the poor to entice them into our faith.

In the many years of working with them I have yet to come across one who converted to Christianity because of our assistance to them. We never went to Malay kampongs but must admit that there were some of them who were desperate and did approach us for aid which we could not deny just because of their faith. Visit to their homes revealed deplorable conditions under which they lived and denying any aid for them would be doing great injustice to fellow humans.


However the numbers of Muslims in our aid list dwindled with time as they were able to get assistance from government agencies in due course. It has to be stressed we did not talk about religion at any time during our acquaintance with these poor people. In fact I for one strongly believe that it is wrong to convert anyone from one religion to another as all faiths are the same in leading to the one same God.


When we were young we were taught that helping the poor is a noble act that should transcend race and creed. Today the basic teaching on charity has changed drastically. We are encouraged to help those from our own community as helping others would be seen with suspicion and intruding into their affairs. It is as though it is alright to neglect our own people but wrong for others to help them.It appears as though there is a right time and place to do good as doing doing at the wrong time may lead us into trouble.


Charity with ulterior motives is not true charity. Charity to coax people to convert their religion especially, the poor and desperate, is one that must be condemned by all.Real charity is one that is done with a open heart without any ulterior motives or benefits and is one that transcends race and religion.There should never be a wrong time or place to do good just like there should never be a right time to do bad.



The alleged raid of the DUMC by Jais brings forth the issue of Christians proselytizing to Muslims in the country in the pretext of helping the latter.This is something hard to believe as it is a common knowledge that such a thing is impossible in this country where there are laws that prohibit spreading non-Islamic faiths to Muslims. Christians are all too familiar with those rulings and one must be insane to do so. However as in any religion there are overzealous people who could resort to such things which is really regrettable.


This allegation of proselytizing is a serious one that needs proper investigation. It is either true of false. The onus of proof is on Jais.If it is true action against those involved in the prosetylising should be initiated in accordance with the laws. Whereas if there is no evidence of proselytizing then Jains owes Malaysians, in particular the Christians an apology and undertake a pledge to reprimand those overzealous officers responsible for the raid.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Church raid ill advised and dangerous precedence

Once again Jabatan Agama Islam Selangor (Jais) has come into the forefront for the wrong reasons. Its raid on a multi-racial dinner at a Church premise was indeed an act of arrogance that cannot be condoned by peace loving citizen. The way they allegedly interrupted the dinner shows total lack of respect for mainly Christian crowd that was gathered there. Moreover places of worship must be treated with more respect and unauthorized trespasses must be condemned.

The reason for the raid according to Jais and state executive councilor Datuk Hasan Ali was the suspicions of proselytizing at the church dinner which is the organizers of the dinner strongly deny. Why was the allegation not investigation in a more mature and democratic way before resorting to such drastic action? Was there a need to rush into the premises with the police on mere suspicion? Why aren’t they upholding the rule of law? With such mob rule there is increasing fear that soon even prayers for the nation by non-Islamic groups may be not allowed.

Are Muslim forbidden from attending charity dinner together with their friends from other faiths?It is time for the authorities realize that Malaysians including our fellow Muslims are mature enough to remain steadfast in the faith even if there are attempts by others to proselytize to them. Non-Muslims in the country are not stupid to proselytize to their Muslim friends whom they love and respect. For over 50years Malaysians of different faiths have learned to live together and they know best how to adapt and interact with one another. The politicians can do then and the country a great favor by leaving the people alone without telling how to deal with their friends from different religions.

The quick response from the MB to calm the situation by expressing his regret and ordering an immediate explanation from Jais is commendable. I agree with him that the raid was not justified and had failed to display fairness and wisdom. Hope he can convince the Sultan to come out with a stern warning to those who planned and conducted the raid. Raiding a place of worship is a blatant disregard and act of great disrespect that no religion will condone.

By quickly coming to the support of Jais despite the pacifying statements by MB Khalid Ibrahim,Hassan Ali would be breaking ranks with the state government on the issue which is indeed regrettable and puts the Pakatan government in bad light. If Hassan cannot agree with the State Government the best thing for him is to resign to prove that he is unwilling to compromise his principles for power.

Jais and Hasaan Ali should provide convincing prove of their allegations of proselytizing.If they are unable to do so it is only right that they apologise for the insult they have inflicted on the those present at the dinner that night and right thinking Malaysians in general both Christians and Muslims alike. This would allow all parties to put the issue aside and move forward to build a more united nation.

The whole fiasco should be lesson for the people on the need for greater respect for each other’s faiths. For the politicians it should be a lesson to leave the people alone to adapt themselves to one another and for that Pakatan government an opportunity to show their rivals the right way to solve inter-faith misunderstandings and disputes, quickly and fairly.
It is time for Malaysians of all faiths to adopt a mindset to accept all religions as equal and there should not be any attempts to convert from one religion to another. God is the same whatever name we choose to call Him and whatever way we choose to worship Him.

Being passionately generous

Be a generous giver while you are still living

Be passionately generous is what matters

A rich man who once asked his priest, "Why does everybody call me stingy when everyone knows that when I die I will leave everything I have to this temple?"


The priest narrated a simple story of the pig and cow.

There once was a pig and a cow. The pig was unpopular and the cow was loved by all in the village. This puzzled the pig.

The pig said to the cow, 'People speak warmly of your good nature and your helpful attitude. They think you are very generous because each day you give them milk, butter and cheese.But how about me? I give them everything I have. I give them the famous sausages, bacon and ham i.e. my entire body. Yet no one likes me. Why is that?'

The cow said, 'Perhaps it is because I give while I am still living.'"


This story is a simple illustration of two important things in life

1.LOVE PASSIONATELY

2.GIVE GENEROUSLY

To be generous alone is not enough as many rich people do it but to do it passionately is more important which only a few can do it.You can only be passionately generous when your are still alive.To share the little we have is far greater than to give a little from the abundance we have been blessed.

It is not how much you give that matters but how you give that really does.

Teacher's Day 2017

  You made the difference To all our teachers Wherever you may be, existing and departed. Thank you to each and everyone...