Religion/Politics

[Governance] On Bersih

Required reading: Alwyn Lau

The only reason that I see for people who started the rally thing is because they are in some political party, not the usual auntie/uncle/people who just wanted to live peacefully.

Oh and young folks who can’t think or bother to question on everything and follow blindly.

A friend and me were exchanging emails about the upcoming Bersih rally. His view was that the march was unnecessary, if only because at this point in time, we have no real proof that Bersih has spoken to the Elections Commission. By real proof I mean minutes of meeting, documentation, actual black and white or recordings to show that the talks had taken place and that the EC had stalled/ignored or even refused them. Plus, Malaysia is still a pretty peaceful country. A number of people who are protesting, from what I know, are those who have nothing to lose.

But then I got to thinking. I know people who will be marching personally. These are people, who, ordinarily would just want to live peacefully. In fact, during the Hindraf rally and other such events, these people often shook their heads and decided that it was not worth making such a big fuss. Bersih too, is one of those events. After all, they can still eat comfortably. They can still work and earn money. There is no real hindrance to living a comfortable life. And elections every five years… well, that’s every five years. Nothing big, really, when you think about it. Only the politicians like to make a big hoo-ha about it.

So what changed? What’s caused these peace-loving, normally quiet people to suddenly be vocal and demand electoral reforms? What’s changed that suddenly Bersih is a big thing? That people don’t think that Bersih is to be blamed for wanting to have a street rally, but rather the Government for obstructing them. And these are not citizens who are affliated with political parties (in fact, many are disgusted with our politicians on both sides) but ordinary citizens and Malaysians.

In other words, what changed that people hold the Government responsible for the inconvenience they now face instead of Bersih (which would have been the scenario three years ago)?

Honestly, I cannot tell you what changed for them, but I can tell you what changed for me.

Up to a week ago, I held the view that Bersih’s aim was noble. That their demands were reasonable. I did not, however, agree with the street rally. I did not agree that we needed a street march, not when you had UMNO Youth and Perkasa jumping on the bandwagon. Not when the threat of violence became very real.

What changed was Barisan Nasional’s actions. Harrassing and arresting people are nothing new. To go after people just for wearing the colour yellow, without any justification, now that is new. Since when did the colour yellow become illegal? The rule of law must prevail, says the Home Minister, but where is the law that prohibits the colour yellow?

What changed me was the realisation that I could be a mother. That if I stayed in this country, this is not the place I want her to grow up in. I do not want my son to grow up feeling he must conform because the state said so. I do not want my daughter to feel constrained because there are those who would cut her voice.

I do not want my children to grow up in a place where the rule of law is disregarded for the whims of a few.

I do not believe that the march is necessary to demand for electoral reforms. I do, however, believe the march is now necessary to show Barisan Nasional, and by extension, UMNO, that we do respect the rule of law. The Federal Constitution, the Supreme Law of the Land, gives us the right and liberty to walk and gather peacefully. It does NOT give anyone the right to take that right away for political survival.

Bigotry at its best

Original article is here. Mirroring on this blog in case it gets taken down. Will post translation when my command of Malay and my disgust goes down.

MENOLAK BANGSA ATAU KAUM BERERTI MENOLAK FITRAH
Oleh: Ahmad Shah Bin Jamlus, Penolong Pengarah BTN Negeri Pahang.

Bangsa dalam maksud bahasanya merangkumi aspek yang lebih luas dari maksud kaum. Ianya menjadi perbahasan ahli akademik dalam pengkajian ilmu kemasyarakatan dan perkumpulan manusia yang masih belum berkesudahan. Penditilan hal ini amat perlu bagi memungkinkan satu pengkajian yang ampuh dan kukuh.

Secara rujukan berkamuskan terbitan Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, BANGSA bermasud jenis manusia daripada satu asal keturunan. Manakala KAUM pula, puak atau suku bangsa.
Oleh yang demikian, saya berpendapat bahawa skop BANGSA lebih luas daripada KAUM.
Pendefinisian di atas penting, namun apa yang lebih penting adalah kefahaman yang menunjukkan bahawa manusia itu secara fitrahnya telah dijadikan berbeza-beza, walau dari kelahiran dari perut ibu yang sama.

Bermula daripada penciptaan manusia pertama iaitu Adam a.s, kemudian Hawa a.s yang pada awalnya di syurga, dengan dipendekkan kisah, maka keturunan Adam dan Hawa berkembangbiak dengan ramainya di atas muka bumi ini.
Ini dapat dibuktikan dengan kepelbagaian bangsa dan kaum yang dapat kita lihat dari dek kelainan warna kulit, bentuk rupa paras, besar kecil anggota tubuh, kerinting lurus rambut, hitam biru mata, pertuturan dan cara hidup. Barang kemungkinan kesan dari bentuk muka bumi, panas sejuk cuaca dan iklim, manusia terbahagi sedemikian.

Secara luarannya, manusia itu sangat berbeza dalam konteks yang telah disebutkan. Namun, mereka itu banyak persamaannya dari sudut dalaman. Ini dapat dibuktikan melalui roh, perasaan, nyawa, emosi dan jiwa. Hal-hal persamaan ini, secara zahirnya dapat diperhatikan dari sudut emosi misalnya, membina intonasi percakapan dan tinggi rendah pengucapan ketika bertutur, walaupun dengan berbahasa yang berbeza. Jika tidak, masakan si MELAYU boleh menitiskan air mata bila menonton babak kesedihan dalam filem-filem HINDUSTAN misalnya, sedangkan si MELAYU itu tidak faham sepatah habuk pun bahasa yang dipertuturkan dalam filem berkenaan.
Oleh yang demikian, secara mudah untuk berfikir akan perbezaan dan persamaan tersebut. Jika dihuraikan dengan lebih mendalam dan ditil, sudah tentu ianya akan membuahkan medan ILMU yang sangat luas.

Merujuk panduan ILAHI secara termaktub yang ditinggalkan oleh Junjungan Besar Muhammad s.a.w iaitu AL-QURAN, kisah awal kejadian manusia antara lain disebutkan di dalam Surah Al-Baqarah, ayat 30. Begitu juga terdapat surah-surah yang lain menjelaskan hal tersebut.
Merujuk hal pencitaan pelbagai bangsa, kaum dan puak ini, sudah dijelaskan dalam Surah Al-Hujurat, ayat ke-13 yang bermakna sebagaimana di bawah;

“Wahai umat manusia! Sesungguhnya Kami telah menciptakan kamu dari lelaki dan perempuan, dan Kami telah menjadikan kamu berbagai bangsa dan bersuku puak, supaya kamu berkenal-kenalan (dan beramah mesra antara satu dengan yang lain). Sesungguhnya semulia-mulia kamu di sisi Allah ialah orang yang lebih taqwanya di antara kamu, (bukan yang lebih keturunan atau bangsanya). Sesungguhnya Allah Maha Mengetahui, lagi Maha Mendalam PengetahuanNya (akan keadaan dan amalan kamu).”

Jika kita perhatikan dalam Ayat ini, permulaannya disebut “Wahai umat manusia…”, ini dapat diperhatikan sebagai satu kenyataan yang universal atau amat menyeluruh sekali. Merangkumi orang-orang yang beriman dan juga sebaliknnya.
Penjelasan ini membuktikan bahawa, penghujahan ini ada untuk dikaji dan diteliti oleh semua manusia tentang kebesaran PENCIPTA mereka dalam KEKUASAAN penciptaan yang ingin dinyatakan selepasnya.

Setelah itu, dinyatakan bahawa manusia itu bermula dengan seorang lelaki iaitu Adam a.s dan kemudiannya Hawa a.s seorang perempuan dan daripada mereka berdua itulah kembangbiaknya manusia yang ramai itu.

Secara jelas pula, tanpa selindung dengan kenyataan tersirat bahawa sememangnya manusia itu dijadikan pelbagai bangsa, kaum dan puak bukan untuk perbalahan tatapi untuk saling berkenalan, kerana Allah mengetahui akan kekuatan dan kelemahan sesuatu bangsa atau kaum itu. Sehinggalah Allah menjelaskan bahawa sebaik-baik mereka itu adalah yang paling tinggi atau lebih taqwanya tehadap Allah s.w.t atau Pencipta dan Pentadbir sekelian alam jagat ini.

Untuk mencapai TAQWA itu, barang sudah pasti bahawa dituntut padanya ialah ISLAM, kerana daripada ISLAM itu timbul hal IMAN dan KEPERCAYAAN terhadap Yang Maha Esa.
Di sini, saya ingin kembali kepada artikel sebelum ini, maka MELAYU dan ISLAM itu tidak dapat dipisahkan. Ciri awal atau pertama dalam mencapai TAQWA telah dikukuhkan dalam Perlembagaan bernegara umat MELAYU di MALAYSIA dalam Perkara 160 memperuntukkan bahawa MELAYU mestilah ISLAM.

[Religion] House Musings

Heard this story from a friend, and would like an honest opinion on this. If you don’t want your opinion/thought to be publicised, feel free to drop me a LJ note/DM on Twitter/Facebook message.

The question is simple:

Assuming the price is right, would you buy a house which had had a dog in it? If you would, would you also buy a house where there had been religious symbols not of your religion abound? I.e. Statues of Kuan Yin, Christian pictures or Quran pictures on the walls, etc?* Why yes, why not?

Thanks!

*Note that the family is moving out and taking all the religious iconography with them, so the house will be empty when you receive it.

Interlok Essays wanted!

Matahari Books are planning to publish a book of essays about Interlok, that controversial novel being used in the BM literature component for Form 5 students. If you want to contribute, here’s the English translation with the original Malay text at the bottom. I’m not sure what language the book is for publication, but I’m assuming Malay as that’s the original invite:

Each essay may (but not necessarily) link to any of the controversies related to the book. For example, essays about “food” or “gender” are very welcome.

Main criteria: The writer must have read Interlok in its entirety, and picked a few choice sentences/excerpts to make your point.
Length: 1,000 – 3,000 words
Deadline: 1 March 2011
Submission: WORD doc to info AT mataharibooks DOT com
Book launch: 22 April 2011 at the KL International Book Fair

Original Facebook invite:

Matahari Books ingin menerbitkan sebuah buku esei mengenai INTERLOK.

Setiap esei tidak semestinya (tapi boleh) merujuk kepada mana-mana kontroversi yang berkaitan dengan buku itu. Contohnya, esei tentang ‘makanan’ atau ‘gender’ amatlah dialu-alukan.

Syarat jika anda ingin menulis: anda seharusnya telah membaca keseluruhan INTERLOK dan memetik beberapa ayat daripada buku itu untuk menguatkan hujah anda.

Panjang 1,000 – 3,000 perkataan.
Tarikh akhir 1 Mac 2011.
Sila hantar ke info@mataharibooks.com dalam bentuk Word.

Pelancaran buku: 22 April di Pesta Buku Antarabangsa KL

Sila kongsi pelawaan ini dengan sesiapa yang mungkin berminat 🙂