Tuesday, April 30, 2013

MALAYSIA ELECTION 2013 - don't be a fence-sitter... DOWN with the fence!

Dear old Mikhail, borrowing an umbrella, after a
Cukur Jambul ceremony for my partner Alex's youngest
newborn son, Siddi. Like myself, he is apolitical and does not
subscribe to any political ideologies (or umbrellas). 

Election Fever. Last Thursday a friend asked me, "So which party do you support? Or are you a fence-sitter?" He is asking me this question because of two reasons - Firstly, he knows of my discontent about our country's present political system of representative democracy, a template which was handed down to us when we obtained independence in 1957. And secondly, it is because this coming Sunday the whole of Malaysia shall be queuing at the polling stations to vote in this country's 13th General Election. With 579 candidates vying for 222 parliamentary seats and 1,321 chasing 505 state seats, and an expected high voter turn-out rate, this is one of the most anticipated election in our recent history.

Cukur Jambul involves a ceremonial cutting of
the newborn's first lock of hair, preceded with
prayers for Sidi and his deceased relatives. While
the guests cut Sidi's hair (little bits only), his proud
grandmother along with her nasyid group sang
the Marhaban, songs welcoming and praising
Muhammad (s.a.w.s.) Later there is food for all.
Fence-destroyer. I remember being stumped to answer. Which party do I support? And if I support none, am I a fence sitter? But then again, why need there be only two possible answers? There is perhaps a third possible reply, and it was the one I chose. I said, "Bro... I support no party, but I am no fence-sitter. In fact it is my fervent hope to destroy that damn fence."

Anarchist me? He he he. My reply makes me sound like an Anarchist. But I don't think I am, because Anarchists are often secular and all about destroying the old system, old ways and prejudices, to bring in the new. My like-minded friends are the opposite of Anarchists, for they are concerned with addressing modern problems brought about by 'new things' such as democracy, the usurious fiat (paper) money and global banking system. We are also much worried about the over-weening power of global corporations, the plague (yes, plague) of bio-tech revolution which is affecting the precious bio-diversity and fine balance of our natural environment. All this is new, a 21st century problem. But the solutions we seek are ancient solutions, in the living pages of the Holy Quran, and in the living story of the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.s.), as guided by our Masters. We always have this qualifier in our statements because, to be honest here, we are not the brightest people around, nor the most virtuous. We need our saints to hold our hand.

And what is the cure? 

Almost ten years ago I recorded a prose about the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.s) and about walls and roads. The first part of the prose, which is the one that concerns us, goes like this...

The Roadbuilder
I build roads,
Not walls.
For my message
Is peace,
Not war...

Poor Siddi yawning. It's his sleep time now (daytime). He spends his nights keeping
his parents awake. Ergo, I often find his dad blinking away half-awake in the office.
On the day of the Cukur Jambul there was good merriment and gratitude.
Politics were forgotten, and the true important things in life celebrated -
Our family, our friends, in the Grace of God Almighty
and Muhammad Habibullah (s.a.w.s.)
The Message of Adab. The sublime Prophetic message of Muhammad (s.a.w.) touches all mankind. And it is essentially a message of Adab (good manners). For though we may differ in our ideologies and creed, if everyone is willing to treat one another with high Adab, there would be no need for all this fear-mongering, bickering, backstabbing, betrayal and slandering - the common weapons of choice in this election thus far. Often now we find in both the mainstream media and the new social media public comments and postings which are either insulting, or at best condescending and sanctimonious. Sometimes, I would like to ask them, "Who died and made you right?"

The Fence. So however attracted you are to any party's slogan or promises, don't build your fences too high until you find it so difficult to understand the other side's point of view. Are we not all human and do we not all err and in perpetual in need of God's forgiveness? Who is to say we are right or wrong? Or whether we are on the right side or the wrong side of an argument?

Tall Fences
Come to your senses,
My would-be martyrs!
And rely not on man-made borders
That keep outsiders outside!
For today you may be within,
Come tomorrow you may be without...

Then we shall see how well you fare
Clambering up your proud fences
Built tall and fair
With your incessant and foul pretenses...

Wahhabism. We are also concerned with the persistent influence of Wahhabism in Malaysia, that strange extremist off-shoot of Islam, propagated with the sword and oil-money from the Middle-east. And the worrying trend of the two dominant 'Islamic' parties (PAS and UMNO) in Malaysia flirtation with the Wahhabi-centric political clerics and celebrity ustaz (religious teachers). Wahhabis are expert fence builders, and have a nasty habit of declaring people who disagree with them as apostates. Anyone who flirts with such people are flirting with spiritual poison.

I used to vote back in the days when candidates and their supporters, of whatever race, creed or political affiliation used to have decent manners. This year I shall not vote and continue to prop up these political fences that divide the people of Malaysia. Why should I when every election cycle seems to bring out the worst in many people? If my fellow Malaysians vote this coming Sunday, I wish them well, and hope that however you may mark the ballot paper, it does not colour your perception of the Oneness of God and the Mercy of His Prophet.

Madad (support us) ya Saydeena Muhammad (s.a.w.s.). Lead us back to our traditional good adab as exemplified by you, best of creation and God's own appointed Mercy to all the Worlds, for the sake of all humanity. The ringing song of Marhaban... marhaban... marhaban lingers in my heart still.

No party colours here. Just thirsty seekers looking for the Nur  (Light).

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

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