Friday, February 22, 2008

Our values and the coming polls

Multi-cultural Malaysia is significantly multi-religious. A multi-religious environment is within which we transact our daily lives. Various religious meanings and symbolic ecologies envelop all of us differentially.

Such ecologies produce sympathetic emotions and universal values, both of which, if nurtured with matured openness, have the potential to guide us towards a future shaped by diversity, dialogue and common destiny.

In the last six months, that future has been subtly seeking a hearing. All of us have, in some form or other and to varying extent experienced a number of socio-political convulsions. We have had an active period seeking political renewal and re-orientation of our social landscape.
In a deep sense, the rich symbolic meanings inherent in the Malaysian religious environment articulate the values that have also animated these ‘rallies for renewal’.

Consider the following religious festivals and events, covering a period of six months.

Deepavali ("light in a row of oil lamps") is a festival of lights. It symbolises and celebrates the victory of light over darkness, of good over evil. Cleansing rituals and thanksgiving mark it. Christmas is the model of accountability because it is a promise kept to spiritually save humanity. It symbolises a critical gift that human beings have received for their own redemption and reconciliation.

Awal Muharram captures the symbolism of light overcoming darkness. It relates to the Hijrah, a journey away from a situation that is marked by bad or oppressive realities. Ponggal brings people together to share and to have fun. It is to mark thanksgiving to bountiful Mother Earth and friendship to fellow beings. Thaipusam is marked by endurance and fortitude, patience and perseverance, sacrifice and suffering and unity of purpose. And finally, the Chinese New Year symbolises a strategy to deal with Nian, a man-eating beast from the mountains (or in some version, seas), through use of loud noises and the colour red. A strategy of colour, community and loud noise to chase the bad of the land seem so familiar.

Do all these not touch the imagination, hope and aspirations of the ‘rallies of renewal’ of the recent past? When we recast the symbols and meanings articulated by the various religious festivals and events on to the secular plane, can we not see some significant continuities?
The continuity of the values captured above can be seen in the movements that engaged many of us directly or indirectly and made us to think and to feel as to what is happening to us as a people and nation. Like the season for renewal in nature, the generation of the future came with their Bersih rally. Following them, came those from the margins of society, with their Hindraf rally. Then the lawyers were to have a rally for democracy and the rule of law that respects the rights of people (not in word but in spirit). A number of smaller but significant calls for gatherings and rallies continued.

Religion-based meanings that envelop all of us were the same as that which seem to have symbolically influenced the recent rallies of renewal. The rallies seem to suggest not only an exercise of our democratic rights but also a development of our religious and spiritual journey as a people, even if we do not recognise it as such. It is in these rallies that we find the projection of values that nurture and make our future democratic and sustainable all round.

As a contrast, reflect for a moment the other world and values that affect us. Like a bad omen, last year ended with a scandal and the New Year started with one, both black gifts to the history of Malaysia from the ruling front. Recall/remember the hoarding "Another Project by the Barisan Nasional Government". Are not these scandals also some of the ‘projects’? The year 2007 ended with the Lingam Tapes scandal, which has taken us deeper and deeper into the labyrinth of abuse of public office and power. And, revealed the slow destruction of institutions of democracy.

The year opened with another scandal, another tape broadcasting the private life of a public servant…a broadcast really depicting seduction and corruption of public life by and for power. This ‘project’, by a component party of the ruling front, is certainly a display of "sewage politics" rampant in Malaysia.

In a sense, for those with faith in the system, the coming elections offer two orientations or pathways to our future: an active engagement with the ‘politics of renewal’ or a passive participation in ‘sewage politics’.

The people of Malaysia have this choice before them. The choice of those parties that support the former also provides an opportunity to nurture the religious and spiritual foundations of this nation. The other choice would mean that we wait and/or spend more time possibly watching video tapes i.e. watching dramas that unfold the folly of our choice!
DR M NADARAJAH is a sociologist by training. He is Secretary of the Asian Communication Network (ACN), an inter-faith and inter-disciplinary social communication initiative, based in St John’s University, Bangkok. He belongs to the Asian Public Intellectuals (API) Community, a community of filmmakers, theatre people, song writers, poets, activists and academics working in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines and Japan for a better Asia. His work focuses on cultural and sustainability issues.
Original post at Malaysiakini.Com


Thursday, February 21, 2008

Just Change - DAP 2008 Election Campaign Song

Bahasa Malaysia Version

Chinese Version

DAP 2008 Election Campaign Song Lyrics Just Change- DAP 2008 Election Campaign Song

Lyrics by Tony Pua
Just change for Malaysia
Just change for Malaysia
Just change we will over come
Just change we will see the sun
Together all races stand as one
Together we will never run
Together it's like never before
Together what we're fighting for
Just change for Malaysia
Just change for Malaysia
Just change we will over come
Just change we will see the sun
We will stop the drain
Senseless crimes
We will end the pain
We will also tame
We will rise again
Just change for Malaysia
Just change for Malaysia
Just change we will over come
Just change we will see the sun
We will fight for our rights to be free
For equality
Justice we will defend, leaders
must have integrity
Malaysians must come first
(and never)
will we be coerced
if we vote wisely
We will make history
(everyone of us must make that change)
Just change for Malaysia
Just change for Malaysia
Just change we will over come
Just change we will never run
Just change for Malaysia
Just change for Malaysia
Just change we will over come
Just change we will see the sun
Just change...

Monday, February 18, 2008

GE 2008 (video pt1)

Excellent video on the plight of Indian in Malaysia.

You can download the entire video onto your PC or mobile phone by right right-clicking this link and choose "Save As".

GE 2008 (video pt2)

GE 2008 (video pt 3)