I have been a regular reader of the Malaysian Insider, an alternative online media, to keep abreast of the on-goings in my home country. While it is a norm to read of crimes and corruption in the State, it is definitely abnormal (to me, at least) to feel agitated as you keep reading. I have been rather disturbed by the recent developments that could threaten unity in the country.
It all began with the "Allah" issue where the Malays in my country believe that that word is exclusively for Muslims, and that no preachers of other religions have the right to use it in their sermons. The Catholics have been using it even before many of us were born! It's funny that the word that refers to God should be copyrighted by one race. I just wonder if there is more than one God in this universe, and if so, does it mean that each religion has to call God differently? It is actually a non-issue, but being a nation where politicians have nothing better to do but look for something to talk about in order to stand out among the crowd, we have highly sensitive issues like this blowing out of proportion, threatening the safety and security that we have enjoyed thus far.
There have been other incidents in the past years that touched on race and religion. There have been threats of reigniting the May 13 incident if we don't watch what we do or say. There have been lesser respect for other races and religions. The most worrying thing is that the leaders are not making things better, but have chosen to remain silent. It gives the impression that the green light is given for such uncouth acts of disrespect to continue. In the span of the past 12 months, the nation has been rocked by one silly statement after another made by mindless politicians and NGO leaders; we have been pelted with harsh remarks that hurt other races to the bone - but the latter have remained silent for the love of peace. If this had happened in other countries, there would be war.
The nation, blessed with a melting pot of cultures and abundant natural resources, has gained independence for over half a century. The nation has also seen major infrastructural developments, but it stops there. In terms of mentality and emotional quotient, my beloved country has remained status quo, or it wouldn't be too far-fetched to say that it has gone to the dogs, looking at the way the leaders run the country. I see that things are getting quite out of control if the top leadership continues to stay mum.
Our forefathers, the pioneers, who have built this country with their blood, tears and sweat to ensure all races live in unity would likely be crying in heaven, for they could anticipate that their hard work would be slowly but surely be destroyed if things don't change; if the attitudes of fellow citizens remain as they have been the past few decades.
I was reading the Bible one day, and this verse aptly fits the scenario:
"I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought." - 1 Corinthians 1:10 (NIV)
The verse applies not only to Christians, but also to every respectful religion on this planet. If leaders are not united, neither will the people be.