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Thursday, December 28, 2006

97] Demons and Demolition

Demons and demolitions

"I have just three things to teach: simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures."

"The more laws and order are made prominent, the more thieves and robbers there will be." - Lao-tzu, "founder" of Taoism

A human being. A squatter area. A Taoist temple. A hope for religious dialogue. These are demolished within the last 100 days.

It seems that the last quarter of the year 2006 will mark the last 100 days that shook Malaysia. In the Mongolian model we see a human being murdered beyond our ability to comprehend what hideousness mean.

In the demolishing of the squatter area of Kampong Berembang, we see the symbol of quick-fixing a complex social issue.

In the demolishing of a 30-year old Taoist temple we arrogantly display our insensitivity towards the worshipers of a beautiful faith that honored the teachings of one of the world's greatest mystic, Lao-tzu.

And in the Prime Minster's decision to stop the dialogue on interfaith issues, we see the demolition of a hope and possibility of beginning the difficult dialogue of religious reconciliation.

What contradictions we are living by. As Chairman Mao would say, we are living in interesting times".

The demons within

What if the human being demolished with those C4 explosives is our sister or daughter? What if the housing areas we demolish are the homes of Malaysia's rich and famous, to make way for the homes of the poor and the unknown? What if the Bukit Mertajam Taoist temple is a masjid, a church, a wat, or a Hindu temple? And what if the ban on religious dialogue is a ban on spreading the ideology of Islam Hadhari or the free market economy?

We must put ourselves in other people's shoes if we want to be respected as human beings living with others of different faith and skin colour?

We instead hesitate to bring to justice those responsible in inciting racial violence in speeches that will breed hatred, especially in the last hurrah on Malay nationalism that has run its course.

We failed to demolish the architecture of power and ideology that has enrich the few of the ruling elite; a system that is build upon the hope for racial tolerance and economic justice but is ending up with one that is trumpeting a form of dynastic despotic democracy that is full of contradiction and is corrupted to the core.

We must exorcise the demons from our national psyche. But first, we need to understand what the divine in that psyche is. We must understand the close relationship between the self, society, and spirituality in the process of human beings socially reproducing themselves.

In Lao-tzu's word from the Tao Te-Ching, we must understand "the way" – of the most natural and peaceful form of the self; of the self that is "formless", "spoken-less", and "boundless".

In the case of the murdered Mongolian model, what kind of human being would be that demonic who would destroy another human being in that fashion? How could this have happened in a country such as Malaysia that prides itself in being the most gentle and accommodating of all multicultural societies? What image are we projecting in the international arena? What is the real story behind such a hideous and high-profile crime?

In the case of the destruction of the houses in Kampong Berembang, what kind of government would destroy the homes of those who continue to live in such condition of urban poverty when we ought to have provided decent housing in a country that prides itself in its fight to end poverty?

Why do we continue to see shantytowns and bantusaans and squatter areas mushrooming at time when we are spending billions buying submarimes, launching satellites, and sending our spaceman to do the teh tarik dance in zero gravity? Why do we have so many signature golf courses and local politicians and little Napoleons building their little istana in an economic system that promises social justice for all?

In the case of the demolition of the Taoist temple in Penang, what kind of local government would oversee the demolition of a house of worship for the Taoists? Did we give them enough opportunity to build a new temple? The idea of demolishing a place that teaches peace and compassion shows that we still have a thousand miles to go in arriving at an interfaith dialogue.

We need to make the first step towards such a vision. As Lao-tzu say, "the journey of a thousand mile begins with a single step."

What then must we do

Are we getting more violent as a people - nurturing the demons in us and turning ourselves into demolition men? Are we seeing the beginning of more politically-motivated murders, more destruction of the home of the poor and dispossessed, more demolitions of houses of worship, and more denials of our urgent need for interfaith dialogues?

I hope not. Or else we will be leaving a legacy of violence and bloodshed to our children and grandchildren.

Israel's fifty years of "founding" is leaving it losing grip of elusive peace.

Let us work towards this thousand-mile journey. But we must identify which political vehicle to rely upon in order to bring us to where a hundred flowers bloom in our million men and women march towards this one utopia – a strong state that protects the weak and curb the appetite of the rich and powerful. This journey - will be the Tao of Malaysian politics.

Until we arrive at such a utopia, we will continue to read about demons and demolitions.


Anonymous said...

There are too few proud just Malaysians who are not speaking up as they should, just like this , with such vehemence and disgust that the puppet regime of Malaysia made up of bloodied hands of relatives, and vile looking cronies, and innocent looking wives, take that great tumble to blivion.
You have struck that first blow. Let more to come.

Anonymous said...

Demolition may for good purpose to upgrad slump lifestyle.

Bumi-non-malay said...

Yes well said...we know its all about power and corruption money. Thanks to Internet local media is silence with their attempted daily Propoganda.

Lets hope they bomb more, churches have insurance and would do well to upgrade those old creaking furniture, sound systems and air con anyway. On a brighter note people are sick of UMNO 100 times more now....and those include the Police, judiciary and the Agong/Sultan.

Best rakyat can do is to Burn down ALL UMNO Racist Branches ...there are many of these staging centre for bombings in Malaysia. Who knows one that you burn could have all those ingredient in them. Its a mind set thing that we need to tell UMNO racist, this time you are GOING DOWN BIG time!

Lecture: Edward Said


Lecture: Noam Chomsky


Lecture: Jacques Derrida


Lecture: Jean Paul Sartre


Movie: 1984


Movie: Animal Farm


Movie: Chicken Run


Poems: Rumi


Dialogue on Religion: Karen Armstrong


Dailogue on Religion: Huston Smith


















The Bhagavad Gita


Jesus of Nazareth


Siddharta Gautama


Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh)