Posts Tagged ‘intolerance’

Confusion over Deepavali holiday in IPTAs

October 14th, 2011
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The 1Malaysia Indian Students Movement (1MISM) launch at UM July this year by PM Najib saw an important announcement regarding extra holidays for Deepavali. It seems, the letter from JPT MOHE to IPTAs on 15th September stated that such holidays are to be given for Indians students only (There’s a copy of the letter here but not sure if untampered). Meaning, Indian (actually should be Hindu, this also don’t know means who la???) students will miss out classes because the classes will still go on.

Worse still, according to one FB entry, there was a comment “Najib bukan VC UKM” (refer here) when students asked why got class on 25th evening and 27th morning.

This will reflect badly on PM Najib and MIC since they were touting extra holidays, but actually its like time off only in some IPTAs. MISM (MIC) better clarify before they cause more damage.

Obviously the IPTAs are in a bind because PM already promised, but to implement, they are the ones who have to figure out ways. I think the IPTAs can do it like schools, by declaring “cuti peristiwa” (event holiday) and replace the classes on Saturdays. If they think that tolerance/sensitivity/acceptance/understanding of various cultures is important, they will find a way and not use reasons like MQA rules as an excuse.

Coming to the question: is convenience of the majority is of more importance than the convenience of the minority, even if the convenience of the minority doesn’t cost/affect much? We talk about national unity and sacrifices, but it doesn’t work for others?

It is very sad that education institutions that are supposed to instill good values of understanding others cultures, acceptance, tolerance etc is in the forefront of being ignorant, apathetic, intolerant and insensitive. What kind of impression are they giving to the students and staff? Should we blame the IPTA management entirely, or the education and social system that they grew up in? Being minority is not easy, and to think its going to get worse is indeed scary.

Even want to implement in IPTA is difficult, imagine want to ask IPTS to provide extra days off for Deepavali! So far heard that MSU having exam on the eve, while Segi KL is closing on eve (half-day) and 27th.

Certain universities are ignoring the government’s directive to give Indian students a longer break to celebrate Deepavali, said the Human Rights Party (HRP).

HRP sec-gen P Uthayakumar (right) in an open letter to Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak today complained of the “year in and year out recurring problem” for Hindu students who fail to enjoy similar accomodations granted other holidays such as Hari Raya, Chinese New Year and Christmas.

According to him, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) was only exempting Indian students from lectures rather than giving an official break.

“This would cause the Indian students to miss their lectures for three days,” said Uthayakumar.

“Apart from UKM, we are also receiving complaints from in particular Indian students studying in Unimas and UMS that lectures will be conducted as usual even on Deepavali day, which is not even a public holiday in Sarawak,” he added.

Najib, he said, had at the launch of the 1Malaysia Indian Students Movement at University Malaya on July 27 announced that the government would direct  universities to make provisions for the Hindu festive period.

The Ministry of  the Higher Education followed up with a circular on Sept 15 to all public universities to reschedule classes and examinations to allow for a longer break for Indian students.

“In that circular, Indian students nationwide were promised a longer break from 25 to 28 October to celebrate Deepavali which falls on 26 Oct,” said Uthayakumar.

He added that they have received complaints that universities are not implementing other provisions cited by Najib, such as a students’ shuttle service to nearby Hindu temples for students and making available vegetarian food.

“Or is this part of ‘the government policy was good but it’s  implementation was bad’ political play gimmick?” said the HRP sec-gen.

source: http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/178646

 

Excerpt from a report in FMT is below:

… In an open letter to Najib, HRP’s pro-tem secretary-general P Uthayakumar, named Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS) and Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) as among those defying the directive.

“UKM’s deputy vice chancellor, Professor Noor Azlan Ghazali, even told the student leader, Kok Kiong Lum, that there are too many holidays in Malaysia,” he stated.

“He said that even Hari Raya and Chinese New Year holidays are only two days long so it is only fair that just one day be given for Deepavali.”

Uthayakumar further said that UNIMAS was conducting lectures on Deepavali day itself as it isn’t a public holiday in Sarawak.

“The Indian students there must also be given the opportunity to return home and be with their families on this auspicious day,” he said.

source: http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/2011/10/14/keep-to-your-word-hrp-tells-pm/

 

 

 

Parliament Sitting on Deepavali Eve Issue

October 11th, 2011
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The parliament sitting on 25th October, a day before Deepavali  is causing some negative news. Obviously those involved should know that the next day is Deepavali and that chances are high the sitting will drag until night. Of course, being people’s representatives, one can expect the MPs to brave through such inconveniences and challenges.

Being Hindus, its important to fulfill one’s dharma (duties).  So,  if its critical to be in the Dewan on that day, then the relevant MPs should be there. However, if there’s nothing much involving them, then I’m sure their absence will be accepted. You can imagine MPs balik kampung to their constituencies to celebrate with the constituents, which is also part of their duty.

DAP’s Kulasegaran had raised the issue with Minister Nazri and the Dewan Rakyat Speaker, so I hope these people will make the right decision. Perhaps can adjourn the session by late afternoon as a  mark of respect/muhibbah (whatever you want to call it) for the diverse cultures and religions in the country. Of course if the sitting is adjourned for the whole day, it would be good news for the relevant MPs.

Worse case, as mentioned above, the Hindu MPs can inform in advance of their absence to the relevant people.  Shouldn’t be a problem.

However, how about the civil servants on duty, the reporters, and others who are involved in the parliament sittings? They would also be affected if the sitting runs into night. Well, yes, its their duty as well. Probably they can try make arrangements to get colleagues who are not celebrating to cover their shift.

Interestingly, this time around MIC was able to get IPTAs to provide extra days off for Deepavali. I think the fact that semester is starting in September is also partly a reason, since the semester exams won’t be near Deepavali.

Deepavali, being a religious event, involve prayers on the eve (for the departed). However, probably the lack of exposure of the planners/authorities led to this situation. We can’t ignore this because the lack of proper exposure to the diverse background of Malaysians and too much focus on only one segment of the society (from school till tertiary education) may have led to this condition. Perhaps those in charge (not only in parliament, but in schools, IPTAs, and other dept/agencies) should be given some knowledge through courses/seminars on the diverse cultures. If not we can expect this issue to occur again and again.

So, while one hand we expect the elected representatives to do their duty, I also expect that sensitivity, acceptance and common sense is also used when making preparations. After all, if this was eve of Hari Raya or Chinese New Year or X’mas, would there be a sitting? Hypothetical question, of course. Perhaps someone should check the records and verify if there were any cases of parliament sitting being held on eve of other major religious festivals.

Wonder if we can say that the sensitivities of the majority is more important than the sensitivities of the minority. I hope not.

DAP parliamentarians have expressed displeasure that Parliament will remain in session on Oct 25, the eve of the Hindu festival of Deepavali.

“This year, Deepavali falls on Oct 26. I am therefore surprised that a parliamentary meeting has been scheduled on Oct 25,” Ipoh Barat MP M Kulasegaran told a press conference in the Parliament lobby today.

Reading out a joint statement, he said the situation would hamper preparations to hold ‘open house’ on Oct 26, as well as disrupt prayers for ancestors that are traditionally conducted on the eve by those observing the festival.

“The party hereby calls on the prime minister who is the government leader in the House to cancel the Oct 25 meeting, as it is a practice for Hindus to pray to their ancestors on the eve of Deepavali and (hold an annual) reunion with family members,” Kulasegaran said.

He pointed out that the all the main roads would be congested on Oct 25, making it difficult for the Hindu MPs to get home from Parliament.

“This morning (M) Manogaran (Teluk Intan MP, left) and I met de facto law minister (Mohd) Nazri (Abdul) Aziz and speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia and requested them to vacate the sitting on Oct 25. Both agreed to consider our request favourably and will revert soon,” he said.

The DAP representatives questioned the premier’s sincerity in announcing that issues faced by Indian Malaysians would be resolved – for instance, examination dates have often clashed with that of the festival.

They recalled that, when launching the 1Malaysia India Students Movement at Universiti Malaya in July, Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak had announced that public tertiary institutions would revamp their curriculum and examination schedules to ensure that these do not clash with Deepavali.

Najib was also quoted to have said the decision would resolve the two-decade-old problem affecting Indian students, who have had to miss the celebrations as their examinations have almost always fallen a day before – or even on the day of – the festival.

“Would this have happened if it were Hari Raya?” asked Batu Kawan MP P Ramasamy who was present.

‘Be sensitive in fixing schedules’

If the premier’s promise holds true, the DAP members said, the government should show the same sensitivity in scheduling sittings of Parliament and government functions.

“This could well be an oversight, but it certainly reflects the need for government officers who are involved in planning meetings to have better knowledge of all festivals (observed),” stressed Kulasegaran.

source: http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/178303

There was a side issued raised, about the teachers and exam papers.

I did some checking: between 2008 and 2010, the exams dates are such that it doesn’t fall within a week or two of Hari Raya. The nearest was in 2009, where UPSR ended about 10 days before Hari Raya. For this year, the last day of PMR is about 2 weeks before Deepavali, so I think there’s ample time for the teachers involved to mark the exam papers and return them on time. Unless the answer scripts are delivered late and teachers end up having just few days to mark.

Anyway, here its mentioned “to check exam papers” so not sure what that means. But to arrange it on the next day after a public holiday is only inviting bad publicity because if the teachers take leave to balik kampung, they are forced to come back or cancel the festival plans. Not exactly a good motivation or planning by employers.

Meanwhile, Manoharan slammed the education ministry for assigning Indian Hindu teachers to check PMR question papers the day after Deepavali.

“It is embarrassing to assign Indian teachers to check question papers when they will be celebrating Deepavali. We want the education ministry to revoke the idea as well,” he said.

source: http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/2011/10/11/dap-respect-time-honoured-hindu-tradition/

In short, if its not critical (life and death) matter, can always postpone. No big deal. Unless you are the type of sadistic employer that likes to torture employees.

Lottery Ban in Kelantan

March 4th, 2011
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I was not surprised to read this news, but amazed at the timing. Made at the cusp of two by-elections, this will surely push fence-sitters away from PAS. For some people, lottery may be just trying their luck, not really a hard-core gambling.  Some take number occassionally or after some “consultation”. The state government is saying that Chinese community leader has agreed that gambling is a dangerous habit. Now, its up to those community leader to verify or rebut the statement.

As I have often mentioned, just talking about religion or general good/bad stuff is not suitable. Need to provide statistics, facts and figures to justify any action. Was there a survey conducted on the impact of lottery tickets among the Chinese community? I think participative government is more suitable nowadays, not the autocratic, “i know better” kind of leaders.

 

The Kelantan government slapped a ban on the sale of Big Sweep lottery tickets, raided two bookshops for selling them and issued summonses to the owners of the premises – and Chinese community leaders in the state are incensed.

The Kelantan PAS had already banned all other four-digit gambling outlets in the state.

Kelantan Chinese Chamber of Commerce president J.P. Goh described the action of raiding the bookshops as infringing on the rights of non-Muslims in the state.

He added that the PAS-led government, which had ruled the state the past 20 years, should have taken action a long time ago if gambling was offensive.

“The punitive action was taken without any prior notice.

“It looked like a rush job on the part of the council.

“I have been told by the owners of the bookshop that the confiscated lottery tickets were kept in a drawer away from public view,” said Goh at a press conference yesterday.

He added that both the shop owners were upset with the action as there was no prior announcement declaring it an offence to sell lottery tickets.

MCA central committee member Datuk Ti Lian Ker said the lottery was governed by federal laws, and the right to buy and sell such lotteries shall not be deemed as gambling.

He added that the local council has no right to raid and seize such lottery tickets because it did not have jurisdiction over a federal matter.

Ti challenged the Pakatan government to introduce the same enforcement in Kedah, Selangor and Penang.

Ti also took offence to Wednes­day’s statement by state executive councillor Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan who announced that the state government had banned all forms of gambling, including selling lottery tickets.

Takiyuddin had claimed that the local Chinese community leaders had agreed that gambling was a dangerous habit which threatened the well-being of families.

“Takiyuddin’s explanation is erroneous and a fallacy.

“No community can take away the civil or legal rights of any community guaranteed by federal laws,” said Ti, who is also Kuantan MCA division chief.

 

 

 

Ragunathan’s plight and temple issues in Merlimau

February 28th, 2011
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We can trust some of our media to dig up interesting stories, especially when it involves elections. So far, it seems to be rosy for Merlimau folks. Everyday, I hear some Merlimau makkal interview recording on Minnal FM saying how the town has progressed. Merlimau has a polytechnic (I suppose the makkal there benefit by the economic activities generated by the polytechnic ecosystem or maybe their kids are studying there), no problem with basic amenities, and generally, its like heaven on earth. Oh ya, in terms of Indian community, there are 1567 folks are registered as voters and MIC has identified 1242 of them. MIC hopes do deliver at least 75% of the Indian votes. That’s the scenario which is obviously in favor of the ruling coalition.  The voter breakdown is as follows: 10,679 voters consisting of 64.1% Malay, 20.8% Chinese and 14.7% Indian. In GE2008, voter turnout was 7977 (76.2%) with BN winning by a majority of 2154 votes.

OK, back to problems. Similar as with Tenang, some of makkal folks live in estates and rural areas, thus there’s the standard problem of getting basic amenities for the last 30/40/50 years. Our first case is about the (now popular) Ragunathan, a dairy farmer. His problem: lack of water supply for about a short period of two decades, and also lack of access road. He seems to doing well with oil palm getting good prices. The land is their own but the location is sandwiched between private property and government reserve. Of course, within days of his problem being highlighted, the calvary arrives. Hopefully his problem will be solved. If not have to wait till next election. BTW, I learnt one thing: branding is important. Choose a good logo.

 

After more than two decades living without water, the by-election has finally brought welcome news for Merlimau voter C Ragunathan.

Soon after Malaysiakini reported his predicament last week, the dairy farmer received visits from politicians and representatives of government agencies suddenly keen to solve his problems.

“After the report, representatives of the state water agency came and inspected our premises and enquired about how we source for water.

 

“Even the health department came to ask if we put chlorine in the well we use for drinking water…But they didn’t promise to provide running water,” he said when met yesterday.

NONERagunathan (left) and his household of more than 10 live in Kampung Paya Yoki, 6km from Merlimau town smack in between a Sime Darby oil palm estate and government reserve land which is now a small forest.

Sime Darby had rejected the land as it was swampy and the government had then sold it to 20 families most of whom have now chosen to move out citing lack of amenities and access road.

Ragunathan’s family source water from a 9 meter deep pond and a well within the estate perimeter, the only access road goes through a gate locked up by Sime Darby daily from 7pm and 7am .

But about a week ago, Malacca MIC deputy chairperson S Mahadevan had told them that the government may build an access road which cuts through the government’s reserve land, bypassing the estate.

“He said that we should first clear the reserve land and we have. It cost us about RM4,000 as there was dense overgrowth…this will not be compensated. We’ve also shown him the plan of where the road can be, but it’s their job to do the land survey,” Ragunathan said.

New electricity poles, street lamps

Tenaga Nasional Berhad also dropped by several days after the report to build two more electrical poles and provide seven street lamps.

merlimauFive years ago Ragunathan had paid TNB for erecting a couple of electrical poles as the energy company said it would not be able to provide it otherwise as the power grid is about 2km away.

“It was done the proper way. I applied and paid them the fee for the electric poles. The total cost, including wiring work and generator, came up to about RM30,000.

This has been confirmed by Negri Sembilan and Malacca Electric Commission director Md Rasdi Abdullah, who sighted Ragunathan’s application to TNB in his investigation, fearing any wrongdoing on TNB Malacca’s part following the news reports.

NONE“The new poles and street lamps is really good news for us and we’re thankful to TNB. But we still have the road issue, which we hope that the relevant parties can help solve as soon as possible,” Ragunathan said.

The father of three added that the lack of an access road that does not cut through the estate also eats into his income.

“I also plant some oil palm, and when we want to bring our crops out the estate patrol officer would think that we are stealing their crop, so he insists that he escorts us out from our land to make sure the fruits are ours.

“But there are times when he is busy and we have to wait a few days and by then our fruits have reduced in weight. The price of oil palm fruits is about RM800 a tonne, and each kilogramme less is a loss for us,” he said.

Dacing means stability

All the same, Ragunathan remains a staunch MIC supporter, just as his late father was.

NONE“When I was younger there was a party using the symbol of a sampan. My father told me that when the sampan goes in the water it’s unstable.

“But the dacing (the weighscale, symbolising BN) is stable, showing that it is fair and does not prefer one race over the other, so this is the party we must support. I have supported BN ever since but I hope that BN will pay attention to our woes.

“I don’t know whether or not (the government) is thinking about our problems. We pay our asssesment fees too, and to pay the fee we must have revenue and this is not easy without amenities,” he said.

 

 

 

Now, if the first case was quite straightforward, the second is a tad more complicated AND sensitive. It involves religion. The politicians are treading carefully, but still I don’t think it will affect the vote bank, since the problem can be more dragged for few more years. Can have a couple of dozens of discussions, interspersed  by land surveys and field visits. If properly managed, this problem can be prolonged for 5 years or more.

Basically, its about a two-in-one temple’s (Hindu and Taoist) expansion plan which is being opposed. My comments are in red below, within the article.

 

Attracting both Hindus and Taoists, the Sri Mathurai Veeran Raja Karaimariamman Tuah Peh Kong temple in the Malay-majority Kampung Simpang Kerayong, Jasin, would have well been a 1Malaysia success story. 

NONEFounded about 40 years ago, the temple sits on private land on the border of the Merlimau and Rim constituencies. [private lamd? whose land is it? Did the landowner give permission for the place of worship? Got approval from local council? Is there proof of its existence for 40 years?]

A plan to put up a proper building to accommodate the large number of devotees who come to observe religious festivals has, however, been put on hold.

This is due to objections from the local Umno division and the village security and safety committee (JKKK), that claim to represent almost all of the Malay community. [Can this claim be justified? Any proof? JKKK reps are not voted, but appointed due to political connections. So how can they be representative of anything?]

NONE“We first met with the penghulu (village head) who said it is not his role and that we should meet with the YB (assemblyperson),” said temple official and priest K Ganesan (right).

“The YB (Rim assemblyperson Mohd Yazed Khamis) said he supports our plans, but we have to get the approval of the JKKK andpenghulu, so we’ve been going around in circles”. [Hmm…wild goose chase. Good strategy. I suppose now things are clear.” ]

A letter dated Dec 14, 2010, from Mohd Yazed, displayed on the temple wall, states that the assemblyperson has no objections to the expansion “granted that there are also no objections from JKKK Simpang Kerayong, Simpang Kerayong Umno and local residents”. [can a political party’s objection be used as an excuse?]

Ganesan claimed that five families object to the expansion as they are “worried that a bigger temple will disturb the peace”. [five families or majority residents object?]

NONE“They worry that the sound of bells and the smell of incense will reach their houses,” he said.  [Well, sounds logical, sound and smell does travel through air. Are they using loudspeakers? And how often is these bell sounds and incense smell? More than 5 times a day? At odd hours?]

Temple committee member N Visvanathan claimed that despite the JKKK and Umno’s claim, only about five families have objected to the expansion, and those families live about 1.6km away. [1.6km away? Wow..I wonder how bell sound and incense smell can reach even beyond few hundred meters.]

“I live just behind the temple and I don’t hear or smell anything. The lorries (from the surrounding oil palm plantation) are more of a disturbance,” he said. [That’s a good comparison. Lorry is more disturbing than temple sound and smell.]

Chief minister’s backing


According to Visvanathan, BN component parties MIC and MCA are on their side. Representatives of the parties have visited them many times, and have even given cash donations to the temple, which has proudly raised several BN flags and an MIC flag. [should be thankful for the cash donation, and don’t worry about solution yet. Will take time. Discuss few more years.]

NONEBut no one has managed to broker a deal with the Umno branch to allow the expansion which Fauzi Muhammad (left), who runs a sundry shop across the road from the temple, believes is supported by “85 percent” of the multi-ethnic residents there. 

“The bell that they worry about is not a constant. It is rung at specific times so it’s not a nuisance. This is a matter of religion, so they must follow their own rules too… even in Islam we have the azan, which may disturb some people, but we must be mature and respect each others’ customs,” he said. [So, the bell is rung according to prayer times – for Hindus, its usually in the morning, at noon, then in late evening. However, I’ve seen some Taoist temples praying into late night. Maybe this is problem – two different religion occupying same location, thus more activities therehmm..mature and respect each others’ customs. That usually is a one-way street in most cases, people like Fauzi are the exception. But this values do exist in Pendidikan Moral subject.]

NONEThis is an argument that is not getting through to those villagers who object to expansion. Even Malacca Chief Minister and state Umno head Mohd Ali Rustam has been unable to convince them, although the state government has approved the expansion in principle. [OK, so approval for extension exists “in principle”]

“I have met with the JKKK, some approve (the expansion), some don’t. I am in a difficult position. If I approve the temple, then Umno members people will say the chief minister supports Chinese and Indians and won’t vote for BN. But if I don’t, then DAP will attack me. [ahh..life of a politician and the decisions they must make..tough life. Tips: why not stop thinking like a politician and more like a sane human being? That may help]

“So I hope we can have more discussions and try to get to a solution,” Mohd Ali said at an event near the temple on Saturday. [the road well travelled – have lots of discussions. Hopefully can solve the problem by next election. Don’t get me wrong, discussion are good, but if its dragging for ages, then need to analyse if its being conducted properly by the right people.]


“Umno and JKKK were angry with me when I converted the land to temple land but I said the temple has been there for 40 years so what’s the problem? We have waited for 40 years, I am sure we can wait a little longer.” [Why the anger? Was the land eyed for some other use? Maybe can consider land swap now?]

NONETemple head Ng Hong Wah (right) said he welcomes the chief minister’s hands-on approach on the issue and is happy that Mohd Ali has visited the temple and is willing to host a dialogue between the parties involved. 

And although campaigning is in progress for the by-election, Ng and his committee members are unwilling to turn to the opposition to air their plight, as they do not want it to be politicised. 

Ng’s concern is just to get the plan off the ground, as the temple committee has spent more than RM100,000 on preparations, including purchasing the land, installing the piping and covering the swamp land. [opps, land has been purchased, so its their own land.]

‘Bell disturbs sleep’

According to Umno Simpang Kerayong division head Hasnol Abu Wahab, the state government and its agencies had, at a meeting with the division and the JKKK, agreed in principle to relocate the temple. [relocate? seems like chicken and duck talking? How can you decide when the party concerned is not around? Is this how things are supposed to be done? Make unilateral decisions?

“You know how these people are, they tie a red and yellow cloth somewhere and it becomes their deity. I don’t think the temple has been there for 40 years… we have located a piece of land less than 1km from the (current site and), which is near another temple and is more appropriate,” he said when contacted. [hmmm…shows how much this guy (and perhaps his cohorts) understand about other people’s religion. Silap haribulan, he can be arrested for sedition – belittling other people’s religion. AND this guy is division Head! He needs counseling from MCCBHST pronto! BTW, can he provide proof of the age of the temple?  Appropriate for who? ]

NONEState exco member R Perumal, who is heavily involved in the negotiations, however, denied that the state has any intention to relocate the temple. [no relocation? confirm chicken and duck talking. No wonder need lots of discussion!]

This will not sit well with the JKKK. Kamaruzzaman Salleh, a member, lamented that the exco did not even consult the villagers before approving the expansion plan. [So, its the Exco’s fault? What’s the local council doing?]

He said that just about all the Malay residents are against the temple because it is too close to their homes and only about 500m from the mosque. [About all the residents? need to conduct a survey to verify. Since earlier the distance was given as 1.6km and now this guy saying 500m, need to hire qualified land surveyor and engineers to verify the distance. Signs that we are bad in judging distance?]

“We are not objecting to the existence of the temple and we respect their right to pray, but the location is unsuitable,” he said. [Obviously its the location problem. The issue is how to verify the unsuitableness of the location.]

There is also an issue of access, as there is only one road leading to the houses behind the temple. The villagers have complained about congestion whenever there are festivals, as the temple is popular with devotees outside Jasin as well. [ahh..another problem added – access road. Of course not everyday there’s a festival. How’s the frequency? Once a week? Once a month? Once every 3 months? Is it bad as weekly Friday afternoon traffic jams? How about asking to build another road or widen the existing road?]

He said that residents, in a complaint letter to the JKKK, had said that the temple bell disturbs their children’s sleep. [must be a big bell with loudspeakers to boot.]

NONEThis, however, has left the temple officials baffled. They only use a hand bell and said they always wait for the azan to finish before ringing the bell. [Aiks! hand bell? At most I can hear my neighbor about 6 houses away praying using hand bell – that’s 50 metres only. Not sure what kind of bell can be heard 500 meters or 1.6km away.]

“When we pray, we ask for the safety of the whole kampung too,” said Ganesan. [Hmm… i think the kampung will be safe even if don’t ask for it.]

About 50 non-Malay families live in Simpang Kerayong, some of whom will vote in the Merlimau by-election on Sunday, in the Jasin Lalang and Chinchin polling districts. [hmm..not many votes here. Solution : have more discussions.]

PAS garnered about half of the votes in both polling districts in the 2008 general election.

 

Don’t get me wrong, but this kind of issues are fuel for people to protest. You may have just handed more ammo to HRP.

Now, looking at the second case above, what can the solution be (other than prolonging the decisions)? Get independent consultants to conduct study to verify distance, conduct survey among residents within a certain radius (don’t let outsiders interfere), study possibility of widening the road, study the decibel levels of the temple bell, measure distance travelled  by incense smell, survey how many kids are affected by sound/smell, study the prayer patterns of the Hindu and Tao devotees, study the frequency of festivals/major prayers, study possibility of relocation and the impact to residents, visitors, and devotees. See, not so difficult right? Heck, I should be a con-sultant! 🙂

 

can They take part in Ponggal or Lantern Festival?

December 16th, 2010
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I was alerted to this news via twitter yesterday. I didn’t see any suggestion to ban Malay Muslims from joining such events as per one tweet from Selangor ADUN Elizabeth Wong said:

UKM lecturer NurFahana calls for ban for Msian Muslims to join celebrations of Ponggal, LanternFest, Deepavali bec it’s religious pluralism

The presenter was suggesting that the relevant authorities (for Islam) should come out with proper definitions for their followers to observe, when taking part in other religions’ events like Ponggal, Deepavali, Lantern Festival and Mooncake Festival. Which is something I agree. Its their religion and they should have some sort of guidelines for their followers. These folks should settle their problems internally without angering or even touching on other religions’ beliefs.  How they want to interpret their religious scriptures depends on their experts.

As long as they don’t touch my religion, fine with me. You mind your business and I shall mind mine. Just because other religion people think differently, doesn’t mean I’m going to stop celebrating Ponggal right?  I concur with MP Kamalanathan, who’s been organising Ponggal festival at KL Tower annually for some time now, that its a fun event (which thanks God for a good harvest – don’t ask me whose God!) and people from all walks of life take part in it. Continue organising it and continue inviting everyone to take part. They want to join or not, up to them.

And I’m not much into labelling everything under 1Malaysia to satisfy the current trending. 1Malaysia or not, festival still gets celebrated and we still invite everyone around.

Excerpt from the Malay version of the article from Malaysian Insider:

Pensyarah Jabatan Usuluddin dan Falsafah, Fakulti Pengajian Islam, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), Nur Farhana Abd. Rahman pula berkata Jabatan Kemajuan Islam Malaysia (Jakim) memberi definisi secara jelas mengenai perayaan pelbagai kaum di negara ini supaya umat Islam tidak terjebak dengan penularan fahaman pluralisme.

Langkah ini penting supaya umat Islam lebih jelas sebelum menyertai mana-mana perayaan kaum lain kerana dibimbangi akan melanggar batasan agama disebabkan untuk mengamalkan kehidupan bertoleransi.

“Misalnya Jakim perlu jelaskan tentang meraikan Pesta Ponggal dengan Deepavali dan antara Pesta Tanglung dengan Pesta Kuih Bulan dari sudut agama dan juga budaya,” katanya dalam kertas kerja bertajuk Pluralisme Agama: Fahaman Pluralisme Agama dan Percanggahannya Dengan Akidah dan Syariah Islamiah.

Nur Farhana berkata, penjelasan Jakim ini penting kerana penglibatan dalam perayaan pelbagai kaum telah dijadikan sebagai merit yang perlu dipenuhi oleh mahasiswa universiti.

“Kita tidak mahu fahaman pluralisme ini mula menular menerusi bidang pendidikan seperti apa yang telah berlaku terhadap negara jiran kita, Indonesia,” katanya.

Sehubungan itu, katanya, pihak berkenaan diminta berhati-hati dalam pelaksanaan sesuatu dasar kerana pengaruh seperti fahaman ini begitu mudah untuk berkembang di kalangan pelajar.

Nur Farhana berkata, pluralisme memang mempunyai banyak percanggahan dengan agama Islam terutamanya dari sudut akidah, syariah dan akhlak.

“Malah pendukung pluralisme juga menegaskan semua agama bermatlamat tujuan yang satu iaitu Allah walaupun berbeza dari segi pendekatan dan ibadat mengikut agama masing-masing,” katanya.

Katanya, pluralisme juga membenarkan penganutnya berkahwin lintas agama di mana orang Islam bebas berkahwin dengan agama lain.