Hari Raya is a celebration for the Muslims who have gone through fasting for the whole month of Ramadhan. For families, especially Muslims, it is a time when families gather, when the younger ones who had migrated to the cities to work would go back to kampungs, bringing their children to meet the granddad, grandma and the rest of the family. In Malaysia, Hari Raya celebration becomes more joyous and unique, as would all other celebrations in Malaysia, as it is celebrated by all walks of life and by all races.
Malaysia is also unique because whether it is Hari Raya, Chinese New Year or Deepavali, we will host open houses where our families and friends from various races will come to visit and share these celebrations. I was happy that I could continue this tradition of hosting a small open house this year. And as in previous years, I was happy that friends from various races came to share my Raya celebrations. It was good as we laughed, talked, discussed (some relatively heavy issues) and parted feeling good and happy. On a personal note, some of my friends could not come to my house this year because of various engagements. To them, as promised, I thought of you guys each time I put a chicken kurma or beef rending into my mouth. Not to mention the nasi tomato or prawn sambal and so on – hahahaha ( Ed’s note -personal joke there).
I was also happy to learn that our Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and cabinet members also hosted an open house at PWTC. I was amazed when I heard approximately 200,000 people from all walks of life and of all races took the effort to celebrate Raya with our leaders. I was informed ambassadors, foreign dignitaries, foreign tourists also came for the open house as was the case in the previous years. In the news reports, many reacted extremely positive for the closeness we have between races in Malaysia and hoped that this unique tradition of all races celebrating all celebrations continue for years ahead.
This open house concept where you get to meet with the Prime Minister and the whole cabinet face to face, shake hands, take photos and so on is extremely unique. In fact I believe the only one in the whole world. Even in the US or UK you do not get to go so close to their President or Prime Minister or even their ministers and so on.
I have to say that I am actually proud of our people and the country for this.
But I was extremely sad when I heard about what the ISA group did. Whilst I can accept they were fighting for something they believe in, I thought what they did at the Raya open house was distasteful and left a poor image of the country to the public, foreign dignitaries, foreign tourists and international community.
I quote here from an entry in mylivingwall.com titled Hartal ISA at PWTC Hari Raya open house “Got to the meeting point at the Mall just before 11am and almost immediately realised that the plan to stand in a row at the entrance as the diplomats and dignitaries arrived would not work as we were informed that they would drive up straight to the 4th floor”.
Whilst I have no problems with people going for the raya open house and even whisper a thing or two to the PM, these people were out to create a ruckus and embarrass the nation in the eyes of the foreign diplomatic corp. Their initial plan was to stand in a row at the entrance where foreign dignitaries and diplomats were supposed to arrive and show a protest on the ISA and the arrest of RPK.
Reading further into the entry of the same blog, these people momentarily even blocked the entrance, denying other visitors from going in and also caused a loud commotion in the middle of the crowd.
Please guys, why do all these? Just to embarrass the PM ? Cabinet? …..Or the country? Whatever you did was counter productive.
In fact, from what I have read, the Hindraf supporters were much better behaved than the ISA group. They came in numbers but were orderly and just wanted to give PM a card without causing a problems. The message on the card is not the question here but they did it with decorum without creating public discomfort.
And the blog also said that all the members of the ISA group refused to shake hands with any other ministers that were jointly hosting the open house!!!! Do you guys know that it is courteous to shake hands with people you meet and more so with your hosts? This is not only the Malaysian way, but the norm and accepted decorum throughout the world.
I am extremely sad. I love my country. I am sure you do too, and you feel passionately about repealing the ISA. Whatever your reasons are, you have achieved only one thing with your antics – you have managed to shame the country in the eyes of the world.
The End Objective Cannot Justify the Means.
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