Archive for February 9th, 2008

The Fear of Holy Books

By Farish A. Noor

Not too long ago, a certain Dutch politician – Geert Wilders, leader of the far-right Dutch Freedom party – caused a stir in that rather flat country by suggesting that the Quran should be banned on the grounds that it was a ‘dangerous book’ that spread the message of hate and violence. As the rather pointless and tiresome debate took its course, other right-wing politicians chipped in, suggesting things such as new laws that forbade the reading of the Quran in public, limiting the sale and dissemination of the Quran in Dutch society, controlling the number of Qurans being brought into the country, etc. Needless to say, Geert Wilders got what he wanted, which was to project himself yet again on the national stage as a rather loud and outlandish advocate of far-right causes.

Predictably, the Muslim community of Holland and other European countries were upset by Wilders’ remarks. Many came to the fore to insist that all this talk about banning Qurans was part and parcel of a wider trend of Islamophobia in the EU; that it was essentially racist and that it was an attempt to rob Muslims in Europe of their fundamental rights and liberties. What offended many Muslims was the suggestion that the Quran could be seen by some as a ‘dangerous text’ which Wilders even compared to Hitler’s Mein Kampf: An ironic comparison to say the least considering Wilders’ own far-right political leanings.

That Muslims would be offended by such claims and demands is understandable as no doubt most faith communities regard their sacred books as precisely that: sacred arks that bear the message of God and divine revelation. To even suggest that the Quran could be read profanely as some terrorists’ manual or guidebook for fanatics was to demean the text, and by extension Islam and Muslims.

Yet the question remains: If Muslims can get so worked up by the fact that some right-wing Dutch politician hungering for publicity can stir up a debate by demeaning the Quran, why is it that so many Muslims remain indifferent to how their fellow Muslims treat the holy texts of other faiths and belief-systems? Read the rest of this entry »


Latest version of Rasa Sayang

The real Rasa Sayang Song In Malaysia

Rasuah sayang eh
Rasuah Sayang Sayang eh,
He lihat Pak Lah tidur
Rasa sayang sayang eh,

Budak mongolia di luar pagar,
Ambil C4 tolong bombkan,
Saya budak baru nak mengajar,
Kalau salah you duduk diam – diam.

Rasuah sayang eh
Rasuah sayang sayang eh
Eh lihat Zam bodoh rasa sayang sayang eh

Zainuddin kita nak marah al – jazeera,
tapi sendiri tak berpengetahuan,
Mungkinkah belajar dari [deleted]*,
Kerana jawapannya macam ketam.

Rasuah sayang
Eh rasuah sayang sayang Eh
Eh lihat parliment rasa sayang sayang eh

Parliment kita macam zoo negara,
Penuh dengan banyak binatang,
Ada beruk, monyet dan kera,
Kalau pergi sana bawalah kacang, Read the rest of this entry »


Parliament dissolution – respect CNY, Pai Tian Gong and international best practices

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has not categorically ruled out the possibility of dissolving Parliament and kicking off the 12th general election campaign during the Chinese New Year festivities.

All that he said yesterday was that it was a rumour, with the cryptic remark “A rumour is a rumour. Any time can be appropriate when I decide.”
The onus is not only on Abdullah but on the MCA, Gerakan and SUPP leaders and Ministers to impress on the Prime Minister to be sensitive and respect the 15-day Chinese New Year festivities and that the insensitivity shown by the Umno national leadership to the Deepavali public holiday last November should not be repeated again.

One hot speculation for the 12th general election is dissolution of Parliament on 13th February, Nomination on 21st February and Polling on 1st March 2008.

As 13th February is the 7th day of the Chinese Year, Abdullah as a Penangite should be reminded that this would be doubly offensive and insensitive – as it will not only be a disrespect to the Chinese New Year celebrations but also to Pai Tian Gong which falls on the 9th day of the Lunar New Year, the birthday of the Jade Emperor and a major event for the Hokkiens in Penang.

Why is Abdullah so reluctant or shy in giving a public assurance that the dissolution of Parliament would definitely be after Chap Goh Mei on 21st February 2008, if he is conscious of the need to set an example of respect and sensitivity for the diverse religions, cultures and customs to all government leaders and Malaysians?

If the dissolution of Parliament is after Chap Goh Mei, a hot set of dates being speculated are dissolution on 22nd February, Nomination on 27th February or March 1s with Polling on 8th March, 2008.

It is the prerogative of the Prime Minister to decide on the date for the dissolution of Parliament, subject to two caveats: Read the rest of this entry »


RTM’s CNY misrepresentation of Malaysian Chinese

by Oldtimer

I am appalled by the way the government misrepresented
the culture of the Chinese. On the second day of
Chinese New Year, at 9pm, RTM broadcasted the Panorama
programme which showed what a “typical” Malaysian
Chinese family preparing for Chinese New Year. Instead
of showing a typical Chinese family, they purposely
showed a Muslim Chinese family and passing the family
off as a typical family. They showed the food
preparations and, of course, did not show any pork
dishes. How can you not show pork dishes for Chinese
new year? They also did not show the people going to
temple and worship their ancestors. Instead they tried
to show this Chinese Muslim family celebrating Chinese
New Year the Muslim way.

I have nothing against Chinese Muslim, but they are a
minority among Chinese Malaysians, and do not
represent the majority of Chinese Malaysians.

It is appalling the way RTM is trying to manipulate
the true picture of the Malaysian Chinese. They
purposely did not show the three key elements- pork,
temples and ancestors worship.

If the government is trying to promote Islam among the
Chinese population here they have in fact, created a
bad impression of Muslims in Malaysia. It just showed
how shallow the government’s commitment to plural
society and religious and cultural freedom. By passing
off the Chinese Muslim as a typical Chinese family in
Malaysia, they have gone to the extreme. Read the rest of this entry »