Sunday, September 14, 2008


Today is the 15th day of the 8th lunar month in the Chinese calendar. It is the Mid-Autumn Festival or Mooncake Festival. It is the second most important festival for the Chinese community. I attended a religious event in a Buddhist Temple in Temiang this morning. In my brief speech, i said i don't have any festive mood today over what had happened in the last 48 hours. And especially one of my comrade Sdri Teresa Kok lost her freedom temporarily. Worst still, she can't even have mooncake with her aged parents tonight! Can you imagine how her parents feel?

Many people asked; why Teresa Kok? Teresa is a well-liked politician not only among DAP fraternity but also among BN and UMNO politicians. You can always see her talking and discussing matters with BN Ministers in the Parliament lounge. Can someone like her be a threat to national security?

It all started by a nasty accusation by Khir Toyo which was picked up by Utusan Malaysia. They accused Teresa of protesting against the Azan in a mosque in Puchong and claimed that Teresa ordered the mosque management not to use PA system for Azan (Islamic call for Muslims in the vicinity to pray in the morning). Teresa had immediately denied the accusation and the mosque committee came out with a statement to clarify the matter.
What happened was a group of residents signed a petition to the mosque to lower the volume for the loudspeaker during their religious ceramah session. The petition was sent before the last election which Teresa was not elected as ADUN for Kinrara yet. It is usual that petitions sent by residents to the BN elected reps always fall on deaf ears.

This incident reminds me of my own dilemma of a similar issue in a residential area in Seremban. The representative of the residents sent me a copy of the signed petition to protest against the use of loudspeaker in a temporary surau located in a house (the proper surau in that area is not built yet) during the election campaign. I promised them to look into the matter after the election. They are not against the surau or the Azan but they hope the temporary surau do not use the loudspeaker during ceramah session and lower the volume during Azan.

On the day of my swearing-in as ADUN, I spoke to the Menteri Besar regarding the issue and asked him what is the state's policy on surau located at houses. He told me firmly that no surau is allowed to operate in a house and claimed that the surau might be operated by members of the opposition and asked me to talk to them instead.
Till today, i have never went to talk the surau committee as i know that my presence will be misconstrued as confronting a religious issue and deepen the misunderstandings among Muslims and non-Muslims in that area. I do not want that to happen. I took other approaches to deal with the matter.

I have asked my Muslim colleagues in Pakatan to talk to the committee. I know they faced dilemma too as they can be accused of compromising their own religion. I went to the State Majlis Agama Islam twice and discussed the issue with the Director and plead him to mediate the issue among residents there. I do not want the issue to be prolonged. I am not sure what is the outcome yet.

I also asked the developer to help the committee to build a proper surau asap. Some residents blamed the developer for not informing them about the location of the surau and demanded the developer to buy back their houses.

Now, as an elected representative, what should i do? At one hand, some residents are talking about the effects to their daily life. On the other, it is a religious obligation. How do we strike a balance? This is the biggest challenge faced by elected reps in mixed constituency. I don't have an answer. I really hope someone can enlighten me on this.

In my speech this morning, i urge the Buddhist monks to educate Buddhists of how to handle this kind of situation. Wisdom is very important in such a situation. I believe every religion teaches their believers to be a good human being and be peace-loving. However, inter-religious understanding in our society is yet to mature and really needs to be strengthened.

I am sure 916, ISA and Teresa Kok will be hot topics in conversations in many family reunions tonight. Put that aside awhile, lets look up to the moon and enjoy a piece of mooncake tonight. Double yolk "lian yong" and "Kam Tui" from Kam Lun Tai are my all-time favourites! I helped my parents to sell mooncake in my teenage years. We were agent for Kam Lun Tai in Seremban those days.

Happy Mid-Autumn Festival!



Anonymous said...

I understand your predicament, esp. when umno are looking for the slightest excuse to use the religious and race cards against the opposition. My sympathy and support to Teresa.

During my chilhood, I am a Chinese living in a small kampung near Rasah N/V, since most of my neighbors are Malays I played, I quarreled, I fight, I eat and even sleep over at their place & vice versa. Back then, we have no reservation, we talk on any damn thing, calling each other names, poking funds at each other culture and religion I learned silat and I even hang around at the mosque. I can even recite Quran verses, no joke.

Believe me when I tell you they even help my family rebuilt our pig sty blow down by the wind. Durind May 13, 'my' kampung folks were afraid that the Chinese from Rasah N/V would attack them and I was among them standing watch at night with a gong ready to strike on assault. I was accepted among them for their security.

See, its not the people that are insensitive or discriminating, its the politician like you and the rest that are. The kind of dirty games you politicians esp. umno are playing have involve the people in it that created this scenario.

I am a businessman now dealing mainly with Malays, I have 800+ Malay employees and I talk and discipline them like any other employer and they accept me more than my Malay partners.

Why? because I always see their positive side while my Malays partner tend to compare them to Non -Malay staff. Nobody like to be compared not even the Chinese themselves, right. If you want to be accepted by them, show them your sincerity not with fear or have any reservation, people can sense it.

Once in while, showing you care for them doesnt make you their champion, what is in your heart that counts. Dont expect to appreciation for your effort and you wont be disappointed. Of course we cant deny the umno goons will make an issue on any small damn thing to charge you guys on ISA. Well, the issue is not race or religion, it is DIRTY POLITICS

Remember, they preach different laws for their members, like what that hamid guy spelt out very clearly that umno punish ahmad with their sets of umno laws, while non- umno (mind you not Malays) will be punish under ISA. RPK and Pas are Malays but non-umno, right.

Pls dont go phobia on religion, believe that all religion teaches us only the right and the truth. Any that preaches otherwise, you can in your heart consider them as deviant or cult teaching (umno cant charge you for what you are thinking inside).

Using Muslim colleagues is only a short term measure, you should mix around with them not just for work but for play too. There are no shortcut to trust, but once you learn how to gain trust it would be easy on any other. Like many DAP guys fear, gaining one might lose their own.

Dont fear, cos when you fear, you have lost half the battle. Let people accept you for your sincerity and not your show acting like some of your PR buggers.

Whatmeworry said...

YB Anthony,

The BN govt's reputation just gotten worse with the recent use of ISA against RPK, YB Teresa and the Sin Chew reporter. I just hope our Malay brothers and sisters realised the lies of the BN these past years and not be taken in by talks of race and religion and that only the BN can ensure them of their rights!

anthony said...

something good will come out from all this mess. it is the government's biggest mistake to date to do for teresa with the ISA. some other person arrested may not stir that much interest but not teresa. with the whole roman catholic church now behind her as well as the protestants, this signals a new direction in malaysian politics.

anthony loke
seminari theoloji malaysia

Liz Yap said...

刚在不久前,看你在这里留言说,林吉祥先生,Teressa Kok , And YB 你在关丹的中秋庆祝会.没想到,几天后,尽然说郭姐她无端端的被扣留,好象很戏剧化.