Wednesday, March 3, 2010

From The Desk Of SCK

My husband would love to share this others, I bet. Yes, this is his.

Saudara mara yang dikasihi sekalian,

If I may, I want to reiterate and perhaps elaborate on my view on this issue, something that I firmly believe in:

1. This issue is unique to Malaysia. This is an established fact. By all means go ahead and do some research on it. Even people in the Arab speaking world don't have to deal with this predicament. In fact, it's inconceivable. As long as you believe in the one true God, you call Him Allah. It doesn't matter if you're Muslim, Christian, Bahai or, heck, Mormon! If you live in an Arab speaking society, you call God Allah. Plain and simple.

2. Many, if not most Malay Muslims (yours truly included of course) have this tendency to think that anything Arab, Arabic and Arabian is associated with Islam. More often that not, this happens unconsciously. Case in point, whenever a non-Muslim, say a Taoist gentleman converts to Islam, it's a given that he has to have a "Muslim" name, whatever that's supposed to mean (WTSM). The naming convention that we normally use is [Pulan] bin Abdullah (replace Pulan with a "Muslim" name, again WTSM), thinking that Abdullah is a "Muslim" name, when all it really means is "servant of God"! Remember that Prophet Muhammad's father's name was Abd Allah ibn Abd al-Muṭṭalib, and surprise surprise, he wasn't even Muslim! Oh, and we often refer to such conversion as "masuk Melayu". WTSM.

3. To extend my point on the importance of education, allow me to also add this. If we're so worried about our clueless youth deviating from Islam thanks to some supposedly elaborate Christian conspiracy to lead them astray, then either educate them, or let them be. Stop brainwashing and trying to stop them from converting. There is absolutely no point in doing so. I know it sounds rather harsh, but sometimes mankind has to learn the hard way. We rarely appreciate something until we lose it. It's akin to giving a child too much antibiotics. The more antibiotics you prescribe, the lower his chance of strengthening his antibody. By the same token, the more you control a child, the less likely that he'll end up being independent, mature and successful. Ever wonder why a nation like America is so successful? Let me quote Bill Clinton on this, "We always try new things. And every single time, we fail. We fail miserably, it's not even funny. In fact, we fail a thousand times! But that's what makes us the way we are today. We learn from our mistakes, and we move along." Well, he didn't utter those exact words, but you get the point.

So from these three simple facts, this is what this whole thing boils down to: If it has nothing to do with religion, then living in Malaysia, it must have everything to do with politics! I don't even have to be a Muslim scholar to figure that one out. It's so darn obvious.

The fact is, we're not to blame for associating anything Arab, Arabic and Arabian with Islam. We were born into a society that traditionally thinks and acts that way. And it doesn't help when politics in Malaysia revolves around ethnic lines. In fact, I strongly believe that to a large extent, "ethnopolitics" is mainly responsible for all the woes that we're currently experiencing, this one included. Political turmoils, low FDI, low GDP, low per capita income, low purchasing power, low human capital quality, low standards and low everything!