Thursday, February 07, 2008

Chinese New Year

I had to work half day yesterday afternoon because all the Chinese officers were on halfday for Chinese New Year eve. I always said that on Chinese New Year Eve, Singapore is run by minority race people. The good thing is I presume everyone else thought that we were closed, so nobody came.

However because I was at work for only half a day, I had one day's worth of files to clear, so that made leaving at closing time impossible. It was a bit rushed, as I kept looking at the clock hoping to leave as soon as possible to catch Habib Umar, who was going to be at Masjid Abdul Aleem Siddique at 7 pm.

I only managed to get to the masjid at a quarter past eight. Well, better late than never. Mrs Mudpie and the kids had gone on their own earlier with my father in law in Mrs Mudpie's car, so I couldnt see where they were in the already crowded mosque.

The mosque was expectedly full, and of course, there was the usual perfunctory traipse I had to negotiate through the crowd, and the intermittent wave of recognition every two steps. It is always nice to go to these tassawwuf functions because there are the same faces one sees, which makes it feel comfortable and welcoming, together with new ones, which makes one comforted that there is hope for the world after all.

I was up at 5 this morning, planning to go to Masjid Abdul Razak for the subuh kuliah, but Mrs Mudpie and the kids were to exhausted from returning home late last night, so we did not go. I guess it is better they rest so that tonight we can go to Masjid Baalwie instead.

Singapore was deathly quiet this morning, after last night's Chinese New Year eve dinners. There was an article in the paper this morning about how Masjid an-Nur organised a Chinese New Year eve dinner for some poor Chinese residents in their neighbourhood. Bless them, for I am sure they are going to get nothing but a whack from the wahabis.

A few days ago there was an article in the paper about how a school principal gathered flack for prohibiting the schoolkids from bringing non-halal food items to school because the canteen had gone 100% halal. I think that was a bad move. Now it will just make it more difficult for other places to go halal. What was the school thinking? As a minority, I feel strongly about being given the opportunity to exercise my choices and not be dictated by the choices of other religions, so is this not just the shoe on the other foot? Commonsense will tell you that a non-Muslim would want the right to exercise his choice of eating non-halal food, right? This is really a mentality of not putting oneself in the other's shoes before doing something that affects the other guy.

The same thinking, or lack of thinking would be a more accurate way of putting it, is what happened in the Malaysia temple demolition case that led to the riots recently. The authorities kept insisting that they did the right thing by demolishing a Hindu temple that was squatting one state land. They claim that they had given notice a long time before. They claim they promised to look into giving an alternative site for the temple. Anyone with commonsense will tell you that firstly, the demolition of the temple less than a week before Deepavali was clearly either an act of provocation, of arrogance, or utter insensitivity; and secondly, who would be comforted with a mere promise of an alternative site? Does not commonsense dictate that the new site be given them and a period of relocation be allowed, before any demolition is carried out?

The conclusion that one can draw is either that the Malaysian authorities were absolutely stupid, or that they were provocative. I believe it is probably the latter. It is not a coincidence that the elections are around the corner, and there is the opportunity to remove the old to make way for the new. Anyone can see that the whole exercise was initiated by BN (who controls the city council that demolished the temple) factions to oust Malaysia's Chief Indian, Samy Vellu. It is also not a coincidence that soon after there was the hidden camera scandal that led to the ousting of one of Malaysia's Chief Chinese. The only one left is now Malaysia's Chief Malay - and, well Dr M and Anuar Ibrahim have been doing that very well.

Islamic state? Where?

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