Monday, January 04, 2010

Of value dilution, withering expectations and ...



It seems my expectations are withering by the day. Once, some of us curse the living daylights of one late Federal court judge. It does not stop there.

  1. Words don't come easy. And this time it is not a song sung by FR David. It is more of looking and reflecting on what happened which, to me, basically rocked the very foundation of our pillars.
  2. Yes, this is about the court's decision on the use of the word 'Allah' by Herald, a newspaper produced by Malaysian's Roman Catholics.
  3. Others may choose to view the case and the issue from a different angle and point of view. I choose to look at it from our continual ability to dilute our age-old values. Actually, dilution is a mild word. It is more of breaking down our age-old values and mutual understandings.
  4. Are we heading towards a secularist state? Are we going the way of rejecting or exclusion of religion and religious consideration from state affairs? To me, by allowing civil courts to determine what is right and what is wrong, especially with matters relating to religious considerations is a step closer to promoting a secular state.
  5. All religions taught its believers to be better persons. I have not come across a religion which glorifies violence nor have I see any religion demanding its believers to destroy the world that we live in. In short, religions taught us to be in harmony with our surroundings.
  6. Having said that, what are my thoughts on Roman Catholics using the word 'Allah' in their publication? Before I proceed any further, this posting is not meant to be provocative nor is it meant to create tensions from parties involved. If some of you have that pre-meditated thoughts, then it is better for you to vent off your thoughts elsewhere...
  7. My first reaction to the whole issue is simple - I have never come across reading bibles (English) that mentioned 'Allah' as the supreme being. That said, I would stand by a simple statement - Quran has been handed down from generations to generations and the verses has always been in Arabic and translations of its verses are included.
  8. The problem lies here - the Bible has been printed in many languages until it has lost its original meaning and on top of that there are many versions of the Bible and thus it is difficult to determine which is the original Bible.
  9. The second reaction is that of confusion. If the Romans Catholics are allowed to use the word 'Allah' then is it a blanket approval for the Protestants, and other religious beliefs to use the word 'Allah'? Is the word 'Allah' becoming generic? All because the high court of Malaysia say so?
  10. Some pounced on exclusivity. My reaction is again simple - why jump at exclusivity. In Kuran, there is a short verse mentioning that Allah does not begets nor is He begotten. That, to me is the Islamic exclusivity for Allah.
  11. So, what is the solution? Are we letting the courts to decide on our religious beliefs and differences? The Herald editor has called for calm whilst TV3 in its Buletin Utama issued correction to their earlier reporting and now stated that Nik Aziz suggested scholars from both religion to it down and amicably resolve the thorny issue.
  12. This is not the time to come out with rhetorics or gloating that can make matters worse. There are agent provocateurs who loved to see us divided and in disarray. It takes us years to build mutual trust and mutual respect but it can just take an instance to destroy the trust that we jointly build in this land we call Malaysia.
  13. MSM and bloggers should play active role in diffusing tension. In this case, I would rather see religious scholars to sit down and discuss the issue with open hearts. If they cannot do that, then they are not "religious" enough to lead us in matters related to religions and beliefs...
  14. And that leads me to comment on MCA's stand. Being politicians, it is better for MCA leaders to stay out and let the religious scholars sort it out. No need to make matters worse. Having UMNO lashing out on the issue is already bad enough...
  15. It seems my expectations are withering by the day. Once, some of us curse the living daylights of one late Federal court judge. It does not stop there. The adverse comments continue even after his demise. Then, out of the blue, Karpal "Singh is King" remarked “He was one of the best judges we had, we can’t deny that,” and he continued “We are deeply saddened by his demise as he was a role model for us to strive to be successful in life,”
  16. Based on Karpal's sattement (or is it eulogy?), it sets me asking, is Karpal being kind or is he stating teh facts? If he is just trying to be kind, then all is well. But if his statement is based on facts, then is Karpal implying that the late Judge is correct in his verdict that "rocked" the nation years ago? If the Judge was right, then why did thousands protested which ultimately leads to March 8, 2008? Are we all blinded?
  17. Even if the Judge makes a wrong decision (based on facts laid out for his judgement), Karpal's statement that the Judge was one of the best we had frightens me. Imagine - if one of the best can make a monumental mistake, then what can we expect from those judges who are not "one of the best"? That is the reason for me to say withering expectations...
  18. Last but not least, it is understood that the Government is appealing on the 'Allah' judgement. On this, this much I can say - if the Federal court is still dragging its feet to hear Perak's MB vs MB, then what chances do I have to see the higher courts accelerate its hearing on the appeal? Even if it did, and if the Government wins the appeal, does that make everybody happy? Will it not fuel more speculation and fuel my stand on withering expectations?

Till then...G'nite M'sia...wherever u are...

7 comments:

ahoo said...

Bro, words don't come easy for many of us. Coming into office yesterday, I received many SMS calling for prayers. A close friend had a mild stroke, another friend's mum had internal bleeding, yet another friend's mum was knock by car having fractured hip and other injuries. Worst of all was news that my own mum has signs of cancer returning after over three years battle. We thought the worse was over after two years battle but no it returns and we need to battle against it.

Indeed the beginning of 2010 don't look promising BUT again who are we ? We can't even prevent one hair from falling off our head nor are we able to change its colour. Thus, the almighty alone is still in control over every situation of one's life.

Are we to defend the name of our God then ? There are many school of thoughts for that. The name of God is called differently in different languages and you have rightly said above that 'Allah' was not found in the " english " bible. But you will find it aplenty in the Indonesian bible version which maybe a translated version from Hebrew version etc.

Most of the Sabahan & Sarawakian christians have been using the translated version with the supreme God named as 'Allah' ever since the day of the translated version from Indonesia. And the same goes for Indonesian churches when they called on their supreme God as 'Allah' since that is the only right word for translating the name of the supreme one in Bahasa Indonesia or Bahasa Malaysia.

Furthermore, since Abrahamic faith believed in that one God, it will be called by different name in different languages. There is no limitation to its name and God will still be God even if we try to change its name. I would be very caution for the issue at hand is NOT the name and its usage. But rather a clear spin to divert this sensitive issue towards certain religious party to cause untold damage and even split amongst its rank and file. This came from the master politicians whoes interest is those badly needed votes. Let not those corrupted ones who hide behind the veil cause untold damages to our society at large. Do read " Marina Mahathir's " blog on this issue and that this name was used by the Arab christians even before the birth of Islam. Note that the Home Ministry started to ban all translated version of Indonesia bible with the word 'Allah' since 2007 and I think there is court case pending from that too. The authority had confiscated over 10,000 bibles for the same reason. Since this word predates Islam, why the govt wants to enforced monopoly over it ? To me it is just a name from arabic translation of a divine, supreme God for those of abrahimic faith.

In any religious debate, there is no end as to each their belief and to each their God. We are mere mortals and were created at His pleasure for worshipping Him.

nightcaller said...

Ahoo

Sorry to hear about your mum's recurring cancer. Yes, 2010 starts wit the wrong foot. Maybe, all of this can be attributed to the partial lunar eclipse on new year's day...hope that things will work out well for u and ur family.

Everyone has his own interpretation on the choice of word to describe God. I stick to the short Quranic verse that Allah does not begets nor is He begotten.

In times of need, we do need console from the One that creates this universe.

looes74 said...

Nightcaller,
After all have said & debated on this matter, allow me to suggest few simple solutions

1) Leave & Let leave
2) Strenghten one's faith
3) Have frank dialogue between different faiths
4) Time to set people including malays free to choose their own belief

Nightcaller,
Yup, (4) is very provocative. It would not happen unless the constituition is changed.
After 50 years of independence, it's time for Malaysians to grow up. We aren't babies after all.

Nightcaller,
Frankly, it's an old issue. Stemming from the overzealous authorities in executing certain policies. If Ministry of Home Affairs adopts a laissez faire attitude with strict enforcement of rule of law, this is absolutely a very very very small matter.


Nightcaller,
You are right about your last point. If Ministry of Home Affairs win the appeal, the rest would be happy? For once, Sabahan & Sarawakians would be very pissed. UMNO Sabah can say goodbye to Sabah's CMship.
What about the sikhs? You know Karpal Singh is a sikh....And.......
I admire PAS's way of navigate themselves out of this mess. I am not sure if UMNO folks realise the damage done to BN. Hey, Sarawak state election is around the corner.
I don't even wanna think of the international arena. Aiyaa.....

nightcaller said...

Looes74

Thks for ur comments.

I have to go against ur proposal to "leave and let leave". My reasoning on this is simple : apart from the short Quranic verse that stressed on the point that "Allah" does not begets nor is He begotten, the oath of becoming a Muslim ie "There is no god except Allah and Muhammad is the prophet" is already self explanatory.

And Islam universally acknowledge that Allah is their one god (although Muslims all over the world comes from different countries and talk different languages). Here, I see that the confusion arise from the failures of early Christian missionaries who failed to use Lord, the son and the holy ghost in their preaching. Instead they opt to use the word Allah (in Sabah/Sarawak) despite knowing fully well that the word does not give a true picture of the Lord as per Christian's beliefs. I would say the word Dewata Raya would fare better and will diffuse the issue.

On point 4, I will not termed it provocative but would re-phrase it to be highly sensitive :). Again, I based on the definition of Malay as a person who is born Muslim, whose parents are Malay, who practise Malay traditions and cultures etc. And this definition may not be the same as what transcribed by England-born orientalist who looks at things from a different perspective.

On religious conversions, let's look at it positively. I did not see that as a major problem because there is a word Murtad in Islam. If there is such word, then there must be those who murtads (apostate/apostasy?). To me, I would let the syariah courts to decide on the religious conversions of Muslims to other religions. In this, the syariah courts must be armed with the necessary legislations and laws to make judgements. I would strongly detest when civil courts are used to handle religious issues.

And that is why, I have repeatedly pointed out - are we going towards secularism? Just because UK, USA and western nations goes secularism does not means that it is the better solution.

Separating the state from religion will be a mistake. Are we saying that man-made laws are better and fairer than laws imposed by the Him? I believe that the Creator knows best what is good for His creations, and we (human beings) are just one of His creations, are we not?

Looes74,

In time like this, cool heads must prevail. There are many agent provocateurs who are ever ready to pounce on our weakness to create havoc and division amongst us.

Religious scholars should take the lead to resolve the issue. If all are for an amicable solution, then there will be an amicable solution. Afterall, if the Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs pray to their respective God, I am sure there will be a solution.

looes74 said...

Dnightcaller,
If only all moslems are like you.....Anything one can't impose one opinion's on each other. Just heard that a stay execution on the Allah issue
Sorry to repeat my point again. Problem would have solved with this solution.
Herald allows to use "Allah" for Bahasa Malaysia. However, no publicity such as mass media is allowed. Herald Publication strictly stated that it's a Christian text. Anybody wanna create trouble would be charged under Publication Act, Sedition Act, Public Disharmony Act......Pick one
I believe if the matter happened in Singapore, that would surely happen.......Leave & Let Leave but strict enforcement of rules to ensure public harmony
Anyway, it's what Dr Asri is espousing. Allah allowed to use but need holistic guideline to nip

nightcaller said...

Looes74

Point noted. Can always give it a try and see whether it works or not.

looes74 said...

Dnightcaller,
The mayhem has just begun. I pray that everybody stays calm. This is the time where moderate moslems should come in
You know in Indonesia, the bombing attacks on churches prompted moderate moslems there including NU once led by Gus Dur formed a protective ring around churches. PAS would score a moral victory if they have gone the NU way in Indonesia
Funny thing is Allah permitted to use in Indonesia's bible