Issue: The Herald Can Use ‘Allah’

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I’m hugely dissapointed with a small group of people in Malaysia.  Yes, the Malaysian High court has allowed Catholic newspaper ‘Herald’ to use the word ‘Allah’, which means that the word is not exclusive for Muslim only, and that is great for me, by any standards!  I mean, if you are talking about 1Malaysia, this is the best example which can be set, the sharing of terms.  Even better when we are talking about ‘memartabatkan bahasa kebangsaan‘.  Don’t you find it ironic that the same people opposing the use of ‘Allah‘ in the Herald is also fighting for the use of BM in Science and Maths?

I do not want to say so much on the issue, because it’s religious.  However, I am dissapointed to hear this words uttered on national TV by some extremist. I quote “We(The government) SHOULD NOT be protecting the rights of the minority people, but should protect the rights of the majority“.

Now, WTF does that statement mean? I always thought that the government should protect each and every citizen it has, regardless of whether they are the minority or majority. By saying the words I quoted above, does that mean that the minority Malaysian citizens have no say and no right?  Does that mean that because we are the minority, the majority can blindly order us up as they like?  The person whom said those words are just plain ignorant and should be exiled from the country.  I have always thought that I am a very liberal person, and that I should respect others, and they should respect me in return… but this is just absurd, and just so discriminating!

To top that up, a widely know TV station decided to play the sentiment up, questioning the courts ruling and showing a lawyer’s statement which is one sided. Come on-lah, if you want to be fair, show stories of both sides!  In fact, the report on prime news is so ‘one sided’ that it sounded as if they are trying to create disharmony in Malaysia, based on this issue!  The editors of this TV station should be slammed up under ISA for inciting hatred!

Okay, the final part of the report said that 4 states in Malaysia do not share the same ruling when it comes to Islam., and that these states should adopt this new ruling as the other states have done so.  But, lets look at these four states first: SARAWAK, SABAH, PENANG & KUALA LUMPUR.

I can’t speak about Penang and KL, but I can speak for Sarawak, and also make a comparison on Sarawak and the peninsular because I stayed in the peninsular for 4 years.  I find that regardless of religion and race, people in Sarawak have the utmost respect over what you practice, and most prefer to live in harmony without even thinking about whether you are the majority, or the minority citizen.  In fact, I could say that people in Sarawak are so closely bonded that it would be very hard to distinguish who is from what race, and from what religion.  When I was studying in the Peninsular, some ‘people’ used to even call us ‘pembawa budaya kuning‘, and other’s said we are ‘setan‘ due to the fact that they think we are not ‘religious enough’, and are bringing bad influence to their place.  Some even tried to preach by saying that our girls shouldn’t wear clothing they usually wear in Sarawak (like Baby T’s, skirts, shorts, jeans etc), and some even asked our dear friends of a particular religion to stay away from us because we are considered ‘unclean‘ and ‘sinners‘.

A friend whom is from Kedah who recently came to Sarawak even said “I find Sarawak to be very very different, and those from a particular religion are very much better here in accepting our differences, and respecting each other“, which sums up why most Sarawakian are so proud to be Sarawakian, regardless of what background they come from.

BTW: I came across this is interesting article from Aliran regarding the divide among Sabah, Sarawak and the Peninsular.  And I would like to stress that I believe that Malaysia would be a very harmonious country if ‘some people‘ know how to respect others, and are willing to ‘give and take‘ just like what is happening in Sarawak.  I do not believe that any religion is higher or worst than another, as I BELIEVE that EVERY RELIGION IS GOOD, but sometimes, the followers make it look bad, which is sad. The following article is also a wonderful article to ponder about.  There are links to Marina Mahathir’s opinion on the issue.  Check it out!

8 COMMENTS

  1. I had to agree on your points regarding Sarawakians, and Sabahan as well. I’ve been staying in Sarawak for almost 7 years now and the reason why I highly regard Sarawak as my second home is its racial integration as what you have stated.

    I’m not going to pinpoint which state is better or which is worst, because the problem is the people who are not well-educated, passing judgments easily without thinking regardless of the state they belong to. We as educators hold a large responsibility to instil racial integration. Statements like “Cina kaya” or “Melayu memang malas” or “India pengotor” or “Iban kaki mabuk” …should never come from a teachers’ mouth! But sadly, based on my research of classroom interactions and teachers’ talk, 90% of them state at least 10 statements of racial sentiment daily. And we can expect how the students will turn out to be….

    But things are not getting any greener in Sarawak. There are already attempts to stir up racial disharmony here; not by people of Peninsular, but Sarawakians themselves. This is mainly for political mileage.

    [Cyril]
    Yes. I agree with you. People shouldn’t generalize. Anyway, In Swk, it is starting to start. Just hope that it doesnt get as bad as in the peninsular. Hate those narrow minded ppl.

  2. I guess the mentality in peninsular Malaysia were different especially those state with “majority race”. Anyway, being in Sarawak, we’re really blessed. At least we have mutual respects and understandings! Proud to be a Sarawakian 😀

    [Cyril]
    Yes, we have mutual respect and understanding. key to our good relationship with all races and religion!

  3. I am personally relieved that the court has finally gathered some senses and allowed the use of Allah in the Herald. But then, based on our experiences in the past even with other cooked-up issues, there’s no way of telling how long that decision is going to stand.I mean, we all know how things are here in Malaysia.

    [Cyril]
    Yea, we kind f know what will happen when they appeal. =( Sad, but true..

  4. By the way, i forgot to give my views on the Herald’s issue.

    I do question their intention thought. If the purpose of using “Allah” is to translate the word “God”, why don’t use a more common term “Tuhan” instead? Why play with fire, knowing very well, it would stir the anger of the Muslim? Plus, majority of the commoners reading the Herald in BM do not prefer the word “Allah”.

    [Cyril]
    You have a valid point.. I am not to fond of the word Allah as well… but I have a feeling that the Catholic Church is pressing for the right to use the word because Swk and Sbh Christians are both using the term in masses and also articles.

  5. I know this Herald’s C.editor Fr Lawrence quite personally as somebody who likes to use Allah in his Malay sermons. He even pronounces it the way the Muslims do, which is ‘OL-OH’ instead of ‘AL-LAH’. I can only imagine how Muslims would react if they happen by any chance to hear how he pronounce it. I think Tuhan is probably less estatic verbally.

    [Cyril]
    I’m relishing the prospect to hear how he pronounce it coz I always can’t pronounce it more than the plain old ‘Allah’ pronunciation. =)

  6. I have just come across something from Lydia Teh’s book “Honk if you are a Malaysian”

    In the book, she was fumed when someone threw a poem to her that sounded like below:

    “Kalau tidak malas, bukan Melayu,
    Kalau tidak tipu, bukan Cina,
    Kalau tidak minum, bukan India.
    (If you’re not lazy, you’re not Malay,
    If you don’t cheat, you’re not Chinese,
    If you don’t drink, you’re not Indian.)”

    Her response to the insulting stereotypical labelling was shockingly impressive:

    “I’m Chinese but I’m no cheat,
    My friend’s Indian but he’s no drunk,
    Another is Malay but he’s no slob,
    Chinese, Indian, Malay or Others,
    We are who we make ourselves to be,
    Not the stereotypes we’re made out to be.
    But if we don’t buck the trend,
    We’ll forever be stamped.”

    If we really want to be anywhere competing with other modern countries, we seriously have to put those non-sense issues aside. The branding, may it be religious, or racial based have been passed down from our previous generations. Many old hatred and fire have been fueling the younger generations, no thanks to the “certain people” mentioned in your blog.

    Nonetheless, grab that book by Lydia Teh, if you have not done so. Support local writers !!

    [Cyril]
    We should never generalize. I agree. Anyway, I read Lydia Teh’s book, and it was good. Problem is, i don’t like reading book. =P

  7. I know people may think I’m saying this from the outside looking in, seeing that I’m out of the country…but when I started reading the issues I thought “why insist on using Allah instead of Tuhan?” I don’t know which party is the one yang cari gaduh…

    [Cyril]
    Honestly, I was asking the same question at first. I mean, yeah, we do sing and use Allah extensively in church and masses, but we could always replace it with Tuhan, so why the fuss, right? But after reading this article (http://tinyurl.com/yjrohlp), I got some insight on the whole matter.

    I couldn’t be bothered about this issue because everything is good in Sarawak, but I worry there will be a spill over considering there are some bad hats trying to bring the narrow mindedness to our shores. It’s sad that this is being fanned into a racial issue with people starting to create groups of hate on FB.

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