Friday, 9 January 2009

The Kiasu Non-Muslims in Malaysia

The Kiasu Non-Muslims in Malaysia

I know this is a very unfair and a sheer generalisation...I wouldn't agree with it. But living in the UK, I would second such statement when it comes to the Palestine issue.

After attending dozens of rallies, demos, strikes and vigils for international issues like war on Iraq, war on Afghan, massacre of the Tibetians, and recently the Gaza holocaust... I force myself to agree with such generalisation. The Arab maxim says:
al-Hukmu 'ala al-Ghalib (then the ruling (hukm) will be according to what is more dominant)...

Here in the UK, and all around the globe...especially in the European countries, thousands of non-Muslims pouring the streets to express their anger towards the oppressor (Israel) and showing their solidarity to the Palestinians the victims. They know no border of belief and skin is an issue of humanity, it is an issue of justice, it is an issue of human rights.

From my observation, even in the UK rallies, you can hardly find the non-Muslim Malaysians (students, professionals or workers)...I don't know what went wrong with our educational system.

I believe, and strongly believe, those Hindraf demonstrators that used to flood the KL street did not turn up on the rallies organised in Kuala Lumpur and elsewhere in Malaysia for the Gaza issue. I bet those Pengkids who shouted loudly swearing the Muftis were busy at starbucks or McDonalds when the kind-hearted Palestinian symphatizer compatriots were busy condemning Israel infront of the American embassy. I adamantly believe too that the young Chinese, young Indians, young Seranis or whatever they are called bother not to participate or even worst not even bother about what is going on in Gaza!

I know the non-Muslim leftists who have been together with the other demonstrators would never agree with me...but the fact that they did not do well in spreading the awareness amongst their non-Muslim communities can never be opposed.

But blaming the non-Muslims solely is unfair, since they did not get the true picture of what is going around. Our non-Malay speaking media failed to address this issue correctly. Yes it was in the news, but was that enough?

The Muslims also have to admit their failure too. The Palestine issue being hijacked as solely an Islamic and Muslim issue. Ceramahs on such topic were organised frequently in Masjids, but not in the churhces, temples and guldwaras. The speakers of such issue always the lebai with turban or kopiah, and the topic will always the stereotypical 'Ceramah kesedaran umat Islam di Palestin; derita umat Islam di Palestin...etc.'. When they speak about the issue, the language they used far away from the tune that can touch the hearts of the non-believers. They also failed to paint the issue with the univesal common interest...for them it is only about Yahudi laknatullah, jihad, hancur Israel, negara Islam, Amerika Syaitan, etc...

If I were a non-Muslim too, I will never bother, it is Muslim's and not mine to bother!

The bottom line is, everybody should try to open their heart and mind. No religion, or no human heart will accept such atrocities, no sane homo-sapien will agree with the killing of children, babies, women and old folks in Gaza by the butchers from Israel, nobody with sound mind will agree with the siege imposed on the Gazans since more than two years, no religion, organised or non-organised will condone the Israeli logic in shelling the UNRWA schools, killing the ambulance drivers and shooting the UN convoys...they are outrages!

So the challenge now is how to mobilize all Malaysians to listen to their
dhamir (heart of purity) and to show their solidarity towards the victims (palestinians)?

I am throwing the gauntlet to those NGOs who are struggling for the cause, and to our government, and to our media, and to our politicians...Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

I would like to dedicate my respect to Hishamudin the Education minister for his brave initiative for the very first time in his life (apart from his joke with the keris) to convey this humanitarian message to the school pupils all over Malaysia.

Malaysia Boleh!


  1. Salam Ustaz,

    Today, in KL, more than 5,000 people - some were non-Muslims - gathered and marched to the US Embassy. Tomorrow, Aman Palestine, will hold a rally at the Melawati Stadium, Shah Alam. InsyAllah, more voices will be heard. I will be recording part of the latter event for webtv8 as well as capturing shots with a digital camera for my Pictures-Only blog; do visit it on Sunday onwards.

    And as you mentioned, this is not just a Muslim issue - it is a humanitarian one! That, I've conveyed to some high-ups and alhamdulillah, it has received favourable reply.

    About the minister, I'd rather watch his action first. Even now, the only segment relaying news about Palestine and the issues behind it are shown during news slot and nowhere else. At the same time, entertainment shows are endless and recycled time and again - pray tell, how do you expect our young generation to even feel for their brothers and sisters in Palestine when their minds are clouded by entertainment programs day in and out? And what can a (maximum) one hour session per week in classroom do, when the reality to these younger people are filled with nothing but images of 'fun'? Both, Education as well as Information Ministry, has to work in tandem for the message to be conveyed successfully.

    Before I get carried away: Well done, Ustaz!

  2. Ustaz,

    A Chinese pastor friend of mine by the name of Sivin Kit has posted a lot of stuff in support of the Palestinian cause. Check him out at He will also join many other non-Muslims in a vigil tonight organized by Suaram (which is predominantly non-Muslim)

    On the part of this not so kiasu non-Muslim Malaysian, I'll be attending a vigil tonight of Jews, Arabs and Muslims on the steps of the Duke Chapel in Durham, NC in support of the Palestinians.

  3. Kian Ming,

    We need more people like you. I believe the silent minority like you have loads to awake those kiasus

  4. Dear Ustaz and Abu Rufaydah,

    I went to the candlelight vigil at Duke yesterday with my wife. I found two other Malaysians there, both Chinese non-Muslims. I'll be writing a letter to Malaysiakini to share my perspective. God bless the Palestinians in Gaza!

  5. Dear kian Ming,

    Keep up the good effort...please do. Hope you will be able to create the awareness. Just ring me if you need any help.

  6. You have to admit that rights awareness generally tend to be very low among Malaysians, regardless of their ethnicity or creed.

    It does seem odd that one would be able to mobilise folks to demonstrate on behalf of Palestine and yet find very little such outrage over Darfur, Sri Lanka, or Orissa. With the prevalent polemic that's in the mainstream, it is inevitable that such causes take on a sectarian bent (ie. Tamils concerned over Sri Lanka, some Christians over Orissa, Muslims over Palestine, and of course the denial of what's happening in Darfur).

    There's also the very obvious identification of the Palestinean cause with Islam in Malaysia that doesn't do much in building bridges across ethnic and creedal lines. The presumption of guilt to only one party and the blanket identification of a particular religious community with the perpetrators (ie. all Yahudi are evil Zionist imperialists, laknatullah Yahudi, hancur Yahudi et al) doesn't help either. Throw that in with a less than credible attempt to present both sides of the story, and you get the perfect recipe for indifference and/or outright hostility over what is perceived to be hypocrisy in some quarters. Of course, the fact that perhaps the hypocrisy cuts both ways is conveniently overlooked.

    COMPLETE seems to be trying to take this issue and present it on a different tangent. The deliberate engagement of non Muslims right from the outset is a good start. Nonetheless, the prevalent rhetoric that generally demands one to take a side and dehumanises the other is still apparent, at least in the initial agenda and discussion. Even then, I still think this is at least one step forward compared to what we had before.

    Understandably, there is a crisis situation now that requires urgent action. This doesn't leave much room for finesse and the finer details of engagement, bridge building and consultation.

    Then again, this might be part of the problem. Without this preliminary work done, it would be unrealistic to expect folks who have generally been :

    a. uninformed
    b. over-informed
    c. indifferent
    d. hold a contrary opinion

    to jump headlong in support of this exercise. This would be something that COMPLETE might want to look into after the immediate crisis quietens down.

    Kiasu? Perhaps. Bochup is probably a more accurate description.


    Bob K(

  7. Ur right this is not a religon issue. It's a humanity issue.