Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Christmas Wish for Mankind

It's Chritmas time again and we see the towns and cities in Malaysia sprouting green and gold within their premises. The glitters are everywhere with the Christmas trees, the deers and sledges and Santa Clause beaming with Christmas cheers. Especially in the shopping complexes and hotels where the crowds are gathered.

As on other festive occasions in Malaysia, we see the country and people putting on their best festive mood and showing off a happy and prosperous life. The focus this time around is. of course, on the cities and towns, not the more rural areas as on other festive occasions like the Hariraya, CNY, Deepavali, Gawai etc. Even the New Year which will come in hot pursuit is not celebrated as conspicuous and voraciously in the rural areas, as in the urban centres throughout the country.

Do we see a rural-urban divide here? Maybe, but not in a serous way. The Christmas and New Year celebrations do spread into the rural areas because of the holidays and the hoardes of people going back to their rural roots to celebrate. Anyway, I don't remember any occasion other than the two Harirays when people in the rural villages really go all out to celebrate. The spirit of the urban festivities and shindigs does not seem to reach them, unlike when we celebrate the CNY, Deepavali, etc., not explicitly anyway.

Christmas and the New Year are celebrated more by our urban population, centered in the clubs, hotels and fun places. There will be partying, feasting and dancing till dawn. The booze and drinks will flow like the monsoon drains on a rainy day. The revellers represent mostly the business community people, the office workers and high society ladies and gents. They certainly represent the most prosperous segment and cream of the Malaysian Society, the upper and higher middle-class people used to a life of luxury and comfort.

That goes for the whole world including the common folks in Christendom. They will also go all out to celebrate but probably giving more emphasis to the religious tradition and ceremonies attached to Christmas. The church bells will chime, the seats will be full, sermons will be read, the hymns sung while the choir will belt out sweet Christmas carols. The clubs, hotels and fun houses on the other hand will devote all attention to just merry-making.

Are the Christmas and New Year celebrations merely for fun and merry-making? While most people are doing just that. let's not forget that they are others, Christians and non-christians, who are undergoing extreme hardships and torments in life, especially those who are the victims of natural disasters, epidemics, malnutrition and starvation and other calamities created by their fellow human beings such as through wars and socio-political conflicts and unrests. Don't we even think of them when we are drinking and dancing our way through the yultide evening and night, with food and drinks being wasted away like the baubles and glitters which decorate the festives ballrooms, halls and lounges? Are we supposed to forget all the woes and sufferings of these people for the period of the celebrations?

We wish everyone a merry Christmas and a happy New Year of course. But I also wish for mankind to think of the miseries and the miserables that plague todays world, in spite of the progress, prosperity and technological perfections achieved. I wish that people will stop killing and hurting each other in the name of promoting justice and humanity, trying to spread peace through wars, fighting corruption with corrupt practices, and instilling kindness among people through cruel laws and regulations. If the true spirit of Christmas and New Year is evoked, we will certainly move a step further towards creating a better world and a more humane society,


Al-Manar said...

In an invironment of 99.9% Muslim community X'mas is just a public holidays except fo0r what one sees on TV. For those who live on daily wage it is another day without earning. What is there to celebrate?

norzah said...

I guess the non-Muslims might feel the same when we celebrate the Aidil Fitrri and the Aidil Adha, especially those on daily wages. I rejoice over the fact that if these people had made friends in the community where they live they'd certainly be invited to the open house functions. They'd be plenty of food for the whole family. That's one of the the advantages of having a multiracial society.

What I wish for is that while celebrating we also think of the unfortunate and the miserable, the victims of natural disasters, wars in the middle-east and other unfortunate souls. Just a niat to help them would already earn us a point while actually helping out in whatever way we can will earn us another. Isn't that one of the beautiful aspects of Islam?