Friday, July 20, 2007

What's WRONG With Us Malaysians Today?

As an old man I've been following all aspects of development in our beloved country with love. The mass media present the everyday concern and psychological frame of the Malaysians in general. The printed media, especially books written by Malaysians,present our intellectual development. But the BLOGGERS indeed provide another ERSTWHILE HIDDEN DIMENSION of our culture, the articulation of our repressed feelings, emotions and psyche. Even some of our "dirty" thoughts which, when shared with others, become exhilarating and even edifying....I dare say even intellectually stimulating, sometimes.

It's a ponderous thing to read some of the writings by our Parliamentarians and scribes like Kadir Jasin. They bring the issues discussed in the papers to a more human and pedestrian level. But politicians, especially from the opposition parties, tend to heat up things that would otherwise become a laughing matter in the hands of master jokers like Rojak Daily and others . I think the rib-ticklers among us have something to tell to the serious social commentators and the politicians. Where is your sense of humour or don't you have any funny bone at all? Can't we laugh at some of the odd things that grace our Malaysian way of life?

Think of the issue raised on whether Malaysia is a secular state or an Islamic state! When I see Malaysians in coat and tie, and you find them all dressed up that way in the offices and at meetings, I know that we have a modern country and coat and tie is the official dress for work among the executives. The rest are in shirts and trousers or pants including some of the ladies. They look very secular to me. Then I see those in Baju Melayu, jubah and serban going to the mosque for their prayers. They are Muslims but they will change their attire and look secular again when there return for work, except for the religious officials. Even some of them put on the coat and tie. All parliamentarians (and judges too) wear a cap with their official garb when attending parliamentary sessions. Does that make them all Muslims?

I think it would be funny to see all the men in Malaysia wearing the Baju Melayu or the Jubah with songkok, ketayap or sarban as people in an Islamic state do, doning of course their tradisional attire. There's no compulsion in Malaysia to dress like a Muslim, even for the non-Muslim ladies. Food is a matter of choice and only those specifically mentioned as 'haram' are forbidden to the Muslims. As for your religion, the non-Muslims are free to pursue their own faith and beliefs. In the street and coffee-shops ( or restuarants and cafes and especially night clubs), Malaysians do not have to worry about being secular or Islam. We do practically the same thing in practically the same manner, with peculiarities and idiosyncrasies that are borne more of personal taste than religious requirements.

In brief, can't we have a secular state with Islam as the formal religion or an Islamic State with a secular orientation and philossphy. What's more important is we're free to pursue our style of life in style. And that's more than what people in a
"sectarian" state can do! Our Constitution has given us the life we have today and I don't think many people want to trade it for something else!

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