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.


abdulhalimshah said...

How time flies, and is it not one of the clear signs of Doomsday where time begins to be felt being short apart from the many ominious signs as described in the Al-Quran and numerous writings of our learned Islamic Scholars.
The instruments of the State that could perform the function which you have stated do not seemed to be doing their part. Our media are more interested in the revenue side at the expense of Nation-building. Even IKIM which is a Company limited and incorporated by the Govt. seemed to want to charge money for their work. I think the powers that be must get their priorities right. The Transformation Plan is just harping on becoming a high-income country and much focus is on micro-managing while the 'Big Picture' of becoming a society with high morals and ethical values slide woefully into the background. Emphasis on Mega-Projects is the obsession of the ' Sharks ' who seemed to be swimming with the people who decides on the billions of worth of projects enumerated in the Transformation Plan. The dire need of the people today is affordable housing, education, public health and efficient transportation. Is there a time-table for the achievement of all these promises to be delivered. Mere public pronouncements on the Plan comes to naught if the majority do not see where their hard-earned money and the tax dollars are being siphoned to. The results will only be seen in the next decade, as whether the Transformation Plan is going the way it should be.

kaykuala said...

Akhi Norzah,
Yesterday it was the Doa Akhir and Awal tahun. This morning the early morning TV had a run through of New Year Resolutions to think about. We have 3 weeks to think seriously about the resolutions before Dec 31.
We are not alone if some of last yr's resolutions are as yet to be done
( now to be carried forward another yr) Phew!

norzah said...

"Emphasis on Mega-Projects is the obsession of the ' Sharks ' who seemed to be swimming with the people who decides on the billions of worth of projects enumerated in the Transformation Plan. The dire need of the people today is affordable housing, education, public health and efficient transportation." A very apt observation. Akhi Halim. Whatever is done to boost up
folks' income by a few ringgit, the bounty dealers gain a few thousand. When govt servants' salary was raised by 10% Ministers;y pay went up by 50%. That's politics.
But what bothers me most is the fact that all festive days are being exploited for their commercial viability rather than venerated for their spiritual significance. The lesser known like the Maal Hijrah passed without a breath of concern from the private sector, whereas it marks the start of the Islamic civilization. In going for the goal of becoming a high income nation, it seems immaterial if Malaysians become hungry hyannas devouring the left-over from the spoils left by the Kings of the political jungle.

norzah said...

Akhi Hank,

If resolutions are mountain peaks
Malaysia would have the Andes and the Alps
If good intentions are the promises of God-fearing men
the world would today be a half-way heaven
But alas the mortals in the seat of power
Could still not satiate their own hunger.

I've always felt that poetry can express a message more succinctly. Salam.

kaykuala said...

Akhi Norzah,
That arsenal is bursting that easy
There, the old touch is plain to see
Now that you've come in a jiffy
Astound us with your flair dear Akhi
Your next posting we'll observe
Will not be a prose but in a verse
This is a special request, can we say?
Looking forward to it if you may!

Al-Manar said...

Sdr Norzah,

The year is ending soon. At this age I stll have many wshes. Perhaps what I pray for most is continuing good health. It is my wish for you and family too, akhil aziz

norzah said...

Your request like a maiden's smile my heart
though a tall order that leaves my faculty appalled,
a poem to me is a bouquet of unfettered emotions
arranged in the craft of inspired jubilations
whilst rationality like a chain that connects the facts of life
has no place in it but to support a strife -
thus must i find a mighty chariot of burning gold
if my arts and my thoughts must together hold
and be delivered in the breath of a friendly exchange
for you, my dear brother, and others roaming on the range.

kaykuala said...

Akhi Norzah,
It may interest you to know of my new Art Blog. Made 1st posting just now. Check it out if you may at: