I was born on the prairies, where the wind blew free and there was nothing to break the light of the sun. I was born where there were no enclosures. [GERONIMO]
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Religious tolerance, my foot!
This is an email that was sent to Uncle Lim and which I would like to re-produce here.
Couldnt help feeling this angry today. I know at my age, I am supposed to be mellowing out, looking forward to a nice chilled day and now what? I find myself with the same amount of righteous anger as I had when I was 16 – going through puberty and finding the world most unfair that my mum wouldnt allow me to have my first pair of cargo pants!
I was sitting in the banana leaf shop this morning having a roti and a coffee when a group of JAWI officers entered the premises. 10 officers to be exact, into this little shop. They spent a good 20 minutes going through the place (and it is a small place!) and finally one officer writes out a writ and gives it to the cashier. They then left. Curious, I asked the cashier what that was all about and he replied that they were not allowed to have their little altars and pictures of their deities in their shop “because otherwise, Muslims cannot come into their shops” . What utter nonsense! Are we still living in the Malaysia that is so “famed” for its “religious tolerance”?? The shop is not a mamak shop. It is an Indian Banana leaf shop. Why would it be surprising that they should have signs of their religious beliefs in their own space? I didnt think that sort of thing was illegal (please correct me if I am wrong). What is wrong with this picture? Will it come down to the point when my Muslim friends should not visit my home just because I have a cross or a chinese altar there? PLEASE!
Better yet, I discovered as I was leaving , that the JAWI personnel had targetted the other 3 banana leaf shops along that row of old shops (near the vets office – off Jalan Maarof). There were at least 4 nos of vans for the officers , ALL double parked on the main road and causing an inconvenience to the other road users. Is there a separate set of laws that govern these people? Notwithstanding the fact that they are trampling all over the definition of religious tolerance in this country , they also flaunt the general laws of the land. This makes me really angry and sad about the state of our country.
I now find it difficult to speak up for Malaysia when there are arguments comparing Malaysia to other countries. It is sad that we can have the once world tallest building and still think like we came out of the jungle yesterday.