Saturday, December 4, 2010
Welcome December Twenty Ten
A Maal Hijarah Procession
Well folks, here we are in December again, December twenty ten, and the first week is gone. The year is coming to a close and a brand new one will begin - twenty eleven. Isn't that easier to say and remember than 'the year twenty thousand and eleven'? We enter the second decade of the 21st century. OMG. How fast time flashes by!
An Imagery from Chap Goh Meh Festivity
Three important events await us in Malaysia - the Maal Hijrah on the 7th, Christmas, and of course the New Year. A Muslim event, a Christian, and an international festive day. The Aidil Fitri and Aidil Adha, the Chap Goh Meh, the Deepavali, the Gawai etc had just been celebrated a few months back. Hey, even Thaipusam had been made into a public holiday for Malaysians. We certainly have a good number of public holidays in this lovely country. When our next door neighbors celebrate we all celebrate too and that is the secret of our happy relationship and the foundation of our national unity. When we can feast, have fun and celebrate our good fortune together, we'll certainly remain together no matter whatever else happens.
A Thaipusam Spectacle
But wouldn't it be more meaningful if the younger Malaysians are acquainted with the full background story behind every one of the festive days that we celebrate? What is the Maal Hijrah about. for example, or the Chap Go Meh, the Thaipusam, the Gawai, the Ponggal, etc.? These festive days are not as widely celebrated nor in as grand a way as the more famous Hariraya, Chinese New Year, Deepavali, Christmas and the New Year. The shops and the towns and cities do not get lighted up and decorated as they do for the more famus occasions. Even the radio, the TV and the news media do not take pains to explain the full meaning and implications of the lesser known fetivals and as such the celebration is less widespread.
Only the business sector will do its best to promote and highlight every exploitable occasion to capitalize on the sales of relevant merchandise. Lately, Valentine Day, Mothers Day, Fathers Day etc seem to have become a day of generous spending and expensive treats. The price of red roses can go up to RM15 for one pretty bloom on Valentine day while the Velentine and other greeting cards have become a rip-roaring business on the appropriate occasion with prices going up to RM50 and more.
The festive atmosphere created by the business sector is most impressive.
All at the expense of the more religously oriented festivals such as the Maal Hijrah, Chap Go Meh, All Saints Days and many others as observed by the followers of different religion. The business sector seems to be leading the show rather than the
religious organizations involved. This has the effect of not only deemphasizing the significance of the occasion from a religious point of view but also turning such an occasion into a business promotion exercise. In this regard even the more
celebrated festive days like hariraya, CNY, Christmas and the New Year have lost much of their religious significance with more emphasis being given to their social relevance. This may not be a healthy trend for the younger Malaysians in terms of their spiritual development.
Whatever it is, December certainly holds out a lot of memories and hopes for all of us. We've fond memories of twenty ten to savour and a rising pile of hopes and expectation for twenty eleven to be excited about. So let us welcome December, the last lap in the twenty ten race for progress and prosperity, although one week is about gone even before I get to write this note.