Alamak, Kangkong

I'm living in a time where water convolvulus @ kangkong is the talk of the town because our Prime Minister, in his attempt to sound gracious and thoughtful, made a comment about how the government has laboured to bring the prices of some goods down, namely the price of kangkong. Bear in mind that kangkong is ubiquitous in the country, and cheap. His comment has opened the floodgates for viral sarcasm. Some funny, but most cringe-worthy and outright lame. But everybody's having fun with it.

The year has certainly started alright for most, minus a few political hiccups (namely the Allah issue - which according to law, I'm not suppose to use the word because I'm not Muslim. I'm also not suppose to use 28 other words). This is like a game of taboo, and the Islamic authorities are holding the buzzer. I have no ill feelings towards the religion. I think the religion is decent and good (like most other religions). I do however have an issue with the mindlessness and political manipulation that governs religion (as seen historically with all religions).

My concerns with the Allah issue are two-fold:

1. The superiority of one religion to claim a set of words their own, when globally, their brethren are denouncing exclusive ownership over the words. It does not make sense that our Malaysian brethren should insist on this exclusivity. Hence, I sympathise with my non-Muslim friends who have been using "Allah" as their address to God since young, but are now denied access.

2. The vehement 'fight for rights' by non-Muslims over religious freedom. I wrestle with this for a few reasons. Firstly, is our fight genuinely motivated by a desire for equality and fairness or is it soaked in resentment towards the majority faith or its practitioners? Sometimes, the shouting voices  are confusing. While I understand the need to preserve equal rights as enshrined in the Federal Constitution, I sometimes get the feeling that this is another avenue to throw a few punches. Secondly, as a follower of Jesus, I don't recall Jesus asking his followers to make religious freedom a large part of their live's agenda. On the contrary, he told us to continue loving others, helping them connect with Him, and when things don't go well, to trust him and embrace the challenges (we sometimes use the term 'persecution') that follow. The reason for that is, our lives as followers of Jesus ought to be heaven-centric. We aren't directed by the matters of this world nor by the demands of our religion, but by Jesus.

Happy 2014! Good luck in everything else :)


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