What’s a little arson between friends…


So some misguided ultras made a half-hearted measure of setting some churches and convent on fire in Peninsular Malaysia for an issue that perhaps was more relevant to the Christians in Sabah and Sarawak. But no, Muslims feel strongly about this too.

But why set things on fire in the first place? Scare the Court of Appeal into reversing the High Court decision? Mob rule? So when you have the slightest court ruling that goes against your what you stand for, you burn places of worship?

Malaysia is a multi-ethnic, multi-religious country. Our differences should be celebrated as the diversity that brings colour to our nation. If there is (and there is bound to be) differences, why can’t we sit and discuss them as rational people?

The inter-faith dialogue has been proposed for a while now, but attempts at actually holding one has met with sticks, stones and mob ugliness, with the police seen as siding with the mob rather than the attacked.

And now, the government itself is mulling an inter-faith dialogue. Somewhat after the fact isn’t it? Now, can it be seen by all the parties involved as a sincere effort at finding common ground? Now, after acts of arson has been committed?

I’m perhaps not as articulate as those thinkers and academics who study this thing, but I’ve no doubt I speak for thousands,  if not millions of Malaysians, who are appalled by such a blatant show of disregard for rules and fairplay. A judge’s decision is vilified because she is not a Muslim. Never mind if she said there is nothing in the Constitution that prevents the use of the word “Allah” by the Catholic Herald in its Malay language section.

The Malaysian Constitution has been raped and mutilated so many times, it probably is a bare shadow of its old self, but somehow this particular one escaped. So what is left now? Move to amend the Constitution if the botched molotov cocktail blitz and the intimidation doesn’t work?

I wonder how long  I, who is born on this land,  will continue to be treated like second class citizens in a country we love, just because I profess a different faith, lack a “bin/binti” in my name, or have a skin darker than you.

We pay the same taxes, don’t we? When we compete at international events, we compete as Malaysians don’t we? When some Malaysian makes it big, or “mengharumkan nama negara” in some distant lands, they don’t ask him/her if she is Malaysian Chinese, or Malaysian Indian, or Melayu or Dayak, or Murut, do they?

Who do I blame for this failure in nation building? Politicians. Quite specifically, those who thrive on fear mongering, because in that fear exist their votebank. How selfish is that?

This government has been, since March 8, reduced to doing a lot of things that are seen as magnanimous, and even friendly, to the people. Things that draw attention because during most of the Mahathir and Abdullah Badawi Administration, they were highly chauvinistic and wouldn’t have been caught dead humbling themselves.

But Malaysians were not born yesterday. I’m sure many of you readers can read between the lines and know the difference between a contrite government seeking to do its job properly for once, and one who’s reduced to it by political necessity. Yes, I’m cynical. Me and a few million others.

I will not fault PM Najib for this latest fiasco but then Najib fronts UMNO as well and that could be his undoing even if he wants to do the right thing.

Here’s another potential disaster. The Home Minister. Yesterday he said on TV that he is comforted that the attacks seem uncoordinated. Sure, dude. We can rest easy cos this acts are carried out by amateurs. Phew! What a relief.

Hishamuddin also seemed more worried about what the international community will think of these church attacks,  and the Tourism Minister said these attacks could affect tourism.

Wow! Everybody matters more than your own citizens, who work, live and strive for this country.

I feel so bloody cheap.

The only nice thing to happen during this sordid affair, is the effort by the 6 Muslim NGOs who volunteered to set up teams to protect churches. As usual it seems to be the work of the people. Here’s an excerpt from The Star…

Volunteers would work alongside Rela and be on the look out for suspicious characters wherever they went and will alert the authorities if they see something amiss.

“What is important that these people know that they are watched. This has got to stop,” PPIM executive secretary Datuk Nadzim Johan told reporters Sunday in a conference.

“We don’t want our Christian brothers to be in danger. This is an offer of peace and goodwill,” he added.

Nadzim said there were currently 60 volunteers from various Muslim NGOs including Perkasa, Pewaris and the Muslim Consumers Association Malaysia (PPIM).

Nadzim also said talks with non-Muslim NGOs had been initiated and he also welcomed non-Muslims who wished to help them. Read the rest here

It is good to know that there still exist good human beings out there who will set out to protect their “brothers”. That’s the operative word here, BROTHERS. Brothers under the same sun, on the same earth.

Some of my friends would be cynical even about this beautiful gesture, but I’d like to still hold on to my faith in the inherent goodness of man prevailing over the bad.

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One thought on “What’s a little arson between friends…

  1. For 50 over years people have tolerated all the shit thrown at them. It has come to a bursting point. Sooner or later it will come to a moment of decisiveness. I hate people stomping all over me. I am not the ‘turn the other cheek’ kind of a person. All my comrades feel the same. We have given our all, enough is enough.

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