Saturday, August 2, 2008


Mahatma Ghandi once said ‘Every religion says GOD lives in us – then why do we kill each other’. A simple quote by Mahatma, but the meaning is so deep.

With Malaysian’s about to celebrate its 51st National Day Celebration on 31st August 2008, many Malaysians are still not aware of the first tenet of the ‘5 Principals of the Nation (RUKUNEGARA)’ which is KEPERCAYAAN KEPADA TUHAN translated in English is BELIEF IN GOD.

Why I say that many Malaysians are not aware of the first tenet of the principle is because, some don’t even understand what is GOD and RELIGION all about.

Simply put, GOD is often conceived of as the creator and overseer of the universe. If one can understand the simple meaning of GOD then many things would be very easy.

In Malaysia – there has been no problems in practicing one’s religion. Off course, off late there have been some issues where once a Hindu or Christian converts to Islam, it is not impossible but it is difficult to reverse or embrace their former religion again. But then again, my question to them has always been - why convert in the first place?

Once upon a time - not long ago, I have seen Malaysian Muslim ministers, politicians walking into temples, churches as any other ordinary person, now we cannot see that. By walking into a mosque, church or a temple will not make me a Muslim, Christian or a Hindu and vice-versa and I think there is nothing wrong in walking into a worship place of any religion to pray – after all, GOD IS ONE.
I must salute YB Khalid Samad the MP for Shah Alam for his courage to walk into a church in Shah Alam recently and how can i forget Y Bhg. Dato' Marina Mahathir - she went to St. Paul's church in Petaling Jaya to speak about AIDS. The late Chief Minister of Selangor Dato' Harun Idris walked into a Hindu Temple in Rawang when he was the chief minister of the state.

I thought it was only in Malaysia that a non-Muslim could not get into a mosque, but, I was wrong. I was once in India and visited a Hindu temple and there was a sign to say ‘ONLY HINDU’s BEYOND THIS POINT’ – YES, I walked through, but a few tourists from UK did not and they left disappointed. I am sure they just wanted to go and see the temple and probably pray – so why restrict any one entering a worship place?

I recently had an opportunity to see a video recording of MIC’s (Malaysian Indian Congress) 20th year celebration which was attended by the Late Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman, in that historic event a Muslim female singer was invited to the stage to sing a song and to my disbelief she actually sang a Hindu devotional type of a song – Malaysians at that time could accept it and had no problems with it. Can we get back those memorable moments? While many would argue that those moments are not possible – I would defer to that opinion. I see right now in Malaysia that there is a growing acceptance and understanding of other religion (please remember that acceptance and understanding of one religion does not mean that we are converting to that particular religion). However, all this can be destroyed if older generation does not support the learning of other religion.

I believe that the 1st tenet of the country’s principal is something that we all should not only abide by but we have to put efforts to ensure that it is being carried out.

Like what I have just said, I am Hindu and by me walking into a mosque, church or a budhist temple would not turn me into Muslim, Christian or a Budhist, but I guess it would surely make me a better person.

I hope one day we will all be able to do that (walking into any place of worship without any restrictions) – RELIGION is something personal and we should not do anything to hurt the RELIGION and their followers. No RELIGION tells us to hate anyone, No RELIGION tells us to kill anyone and yet this happens in the name of RELIGION.

I have always thought and still think that RELIGION and Politics should not mix and I will just leave that opinion there.

As how S Yogendran mentioned to me ‘Living in a multi-racial country, it’s about respecting every citizens religion, believes and their cultures’.

How many of us are doing that?
Are we as liberal as what we think we should be?
Have we taken the trouble to make others understand what is our culture and religion is all about?

I believe that no one will want to respect our culture and religion if we don’t respect it ourselves. It starts with us and let us not wait for others to make this happen.

MY VIEWS….I have started my journey in creating this awareness, it is indeed a long journey and it can only happen if you help me. HELP ME.

PS. I am also dedicating a video to all my readers. The song in the video was sung by one of my favorite singers A Hariharan along with Lesslie Lewis. Don’t just enjoy the song but please understand the words.


Novinthen said...

Its darkest before dawn they say.

With recent developments in our nation ( teachers calling us keling and etc [kerana nila setitik,rosak susu sebelanga]) , I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a Malaysian Malaysia.

Hope - Men's best and worst weapon.

Leonardo Ho said...

Based from my perspective, i believe that each religion has its own accommodation based on its privacy and exposure.

Yet, religion has no boundaries of how far can men explore its sacred grounds and learning its practices. I agree that it doesn't convert oneself just by visiting the place.

Its based more on the individual himself, whether to follow the religion or not. It is not scripted whereby just by walking in a foreign holy grounds, it means that one will convert automatically thus there are no hidden agenda set in the ancient scripts.

God created men, and men created religion. Religion is then exploited, hence practiced in a way whereby men took advantage of the context set by the religion.

Therefore, it is men which created such unnecessary rules.


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