TODAY is an auspicious day in the Malaysian calendar as Buddhists celebrate Wesak Day. Buddhism, like all other religions, espouses peace and harmony among fellow men.
It is a way of life that is meaningful and to be cherished in any society, more so in a pluralistic environment, which is the hallmark of our beloved Malaysia.
Exactly 45 years ago this day, Malaysia as a young country, 12 years of age, experienced its most shameful and infamous day when brother rose against brother resulting in grief, sorrow, bloodshed and loss of life. The psyche of the nation was scarred and is a permanent blot in our history! Have we learnt?
Those who are currently below 45 years of age, or children at that time, will never be able to fathom the deths to which our country descended and the reasons behind it. If in 1966, US President Lyndon B. Johnson was shown rubber trees, in 1969 there was only carnage and untold suffering to show. Yet under able leadership, like a phoenix, Malaysia arose and showed so much more recently to President Barack Obama, 48 years on. We are proud of this.
Lessons were learnt on racial polarisation and the needs of the various communities. Malaysia progressed rapidly to what it is today, a nation which has surpassed most of its immediate neighbours in development.
Yet today, there are destructive forces prevailing which can bring our nation down to its knees in an instant. We have much to learn from religious precepts on tolerance and peace which will contribute to our future well-being.
Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said: “I think people are not learning from their past. There is no benefit in having confrontation, tension, instability. What’s the good of fighting? You kill each other but in the end what do you get?” Whatever means employed by him to keep rebel-rousers, who were out for political mileage, in check under his watch has made Malaysia what it is today.
Questions are now being raised as to what certain communities have done to merit citizenship and even referred to as trespassers. Is there a memory lapse here? Is this a rational, educated comment to make to fellow citizens borne and bred in Malaysia who are without any form of allegiance or political affection to the countries where their forefathers came from be it Indonesia, China, India, or wherever else!
All have contributed to nationbuilding in one way or the other and all save, the orang asli, are immigrants. These are undeniable facts. Let us not rewrite history based on emotion and be misled by myopic, ill-informed shamans who profess otherwise!
Perhaps this is due to ignorance and the failure of our education system in imparting history correctly. This can be easily remedied by re-education on Malaysian history. Everything needs to be rational and have limits!
All religions fully subscribe to one tenet which is non-negotiable - speak the truth!
Najib has got the correct “thinking cap” on when he says that he is the leader of all Malaysians, irrespective of race. This is the way to go for a united Malaysia. We do not need loose cannons spouting hatred and ill-will through hurtful words.
The Prime Minister has to speak louder and clearer to counter such irrational manifestations. Otherwise a heavy price will be paid in terms of our continued economic development.
The golden years of Islamic civilization, the Renaissance and the Industrial Revolution were all marked by periods of peace and stability
As a nation, we should not forget what it means to be on one ship paddling together in the same direction. We have to be one cohesive force. Those who sow seeds of hatred should be ejected.
We live in a country with many religions yet our conduct in certain instances is anything but religious! All religions call for the bringing together of people irrespective of race, colour or creed to live in a harmonious relationship working for the common good.
We should not be traitors to our Creator, faith and religious beliefs.
Let this Wesak Day which falls on the 45th anniversary of that fateful day, heighten our senses to what can go so terribly wrong in beautiful Malaysia.
As Malaysian citizens we all have a part to play in burning at the stake demonic forces which are threatening to tear our peace loving, tolerant and accommodative way of life apart.
Religion must keep us together and not drive us apart. In the coming years we can be greater if only we do not shoot ourselves in the foot first. Racial and religious intolerance has to be obliterated.
Happy Wesak Day!
Contributed by WALTER SANDOSAM Kuala Lumpur
Wishing all a blessed Wesak…