New Year’s resolution: are all Malaysians ready to stand up for it?

– J.D. Lovrenciear
The Malaysian Insider
22 December 2014

The year 2014 is soon going to be left behind as we gear up, joining the world for another year of hope. We will join billions around the globe come January 1, 2015, with hopeful hearts in prayer and as we celebrate with joy our determination to end pain and drown fears.

For Malaysians, 2014 was indeed a painful year punctured with fears as hopes and joys kept swaying and wilting in the rage of race and religion battles that hogged the media every other day.

2014 was also a year where political parties put their survival above happiness, peace, tolerance and acceptance. It was one of “it is our way or no way”.

In fact, since the days of Semangat 46, the Umno-Baru and Umno-Lama battles, the sacking and jailing of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, the forced eviction of Pak Lah and now the spearing attempts on Datuk Seri Najib Razak, Malaysia has been besieged with endless fears and buried in much pain, with each passing year’s hopes and joys diminishing drastically.

True or not true, Malaysians?

Never have we witnessed such aggression displayed openly against other religions; never have we seen such race-laced attacks in the open and yet smoothly getting away without any action – let alone reaction from leaders.

As we may look forward to joining billions around the world on the eve of year 2015 to prayerfully and in jubilation express our one-world hope for peace, progress and happiness, having witnessed the recent mindless, senseless killing of innocent children in Pakistan, we are also not sure if even that congregation of citizens on January 1, 2015 will be soiled and marred and buried in ugly screams of Muslim and non-Muslim issues.

Senior citizens will recall the times when under the leadership of our widely loved Bapa Malaysia, allahyaram Tuanku Abdul Rahman, when Mountbatton Road would be lighted up at about this time of the year in welcoming the New Year.

Carolling in the streets and merry-making in peaceful tunes (without the threats of mat rempits and ultras, mind you), was not seen as a religious evangelisation threat but one of goodwill and well wishes for a nation hoping to grow up soon and join the progressive world of tomorrow.

We did not have brawls over what was more Islamic or less; we did not hear of whether one was Shia or Sunni; the “holier than thou” watchword never existed.

Respect and acceptance of each other’s faith, beliefs, traditions and practices were not an issue as fears and suspicions were non-existent in our midst.

But fast-track forward into the close of 2014 and see what we have before us.

Even whether a Muslim can wish a Christian “Merry Christmas” has become a national debate. Whether Muslims can eat in a Hindu restaurant have flared up. Screams to respect “my religion” are fearlessly traded in the open.

Exclusivity of how and who can call and worship his or her God has become central to this country’s future.

Indeed, as we end year 2014, what can Malaysians look forward to in 2015? Will our politicians bring deliverance to a country so deeply thrown into the chaos of the Orwellian mindsets?

Or will Malaysia become a Malay-first-and-Malaysian-second nation?

Will 2015 see uglier battles fought to create more billionaires based on race and religion cards? Will 2015 drag this nation into murkier swamps of political divides structured on race and religious paradigms?

Or will the Moderates Movement of Malaysia rise above the ashes of 2014 and the cumulated sins of omissions of past decades, and bring new sunshine into the lives of 30 million people, living side by side, praying for each other’s well being and progress and enabling the capable to work for the less capable in our midst?

Will 2015 light up a rainbow in our hearts, motivating us to feel, think and act as Malaysians first and forever?

Will 2015 see a wilful change in the hearts of extremists and leftists and bring us all Malaysians to dine on this one and only one table – this country called Malaysia, as a family of citizens committed to excellence?

Will 2015 kick start from January 1, 2015, a country of people who rise to become a beacon of hope in a troubled and uncertain world of terror?

Wonder then what will the prime minister’s New Year message be to all Malaysians?

And wonder too, if all the religious leaders (Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, others) of this once so beautiful country of hope and endeavour that supported the building of mosques, churches, temples side by side, will have the courage and dream in their hearts to bring their followers together as one nation of people, congregating at Merdeka Square in the federal capital as well as nationwide, to pray for each other, come January 1, 2015?

Or will we be even more buried in our hatred and suspicion for one another; divided over our battling for greed for power and control; and zero courage to upset individual status quo, so much so that we let this god-given opportunity of the dawn of new year to slip between our souls like quicksand?

Or would we end up witnessing another round of ballistic condemnation from religion-defenders and race-protectors for harbouring goodwill and harmony along their often traded “liberalism and pluralism” allegations?

Pray what do we Malaysians want to create for 2015? Or will we choose to stand by the wayside and keep pointing our fingers at each other’s throats or worse, pull our blinkers tight and operate on that mantra of “mind-your-own-business”? – December 22, 2014.
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