Archive for the ‘Celebrating Diversity’ Category

Health DG extends Deepavali greetings, reminds M’sians to follow Covid-19 SOPs as they celebrate

Saturday, November 14th, 2020

PETALING JAYA: Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah has extended Deepavali greetings to Malaysians and reminded them to follow the standard operating procedures (SOPs) as they celebrate the festival of lights.

“Deepavali Valthukkal to all Hindus celebrating Deepavali. While celebrating this joyous festival, please remember to follow the SOPs,” the Health director-general said.

In his daily status update on Friday (Nov 13), Dr Noor Hisham reminded Malaysians to follow the conditional MCO rules, maintain a physical distance of about one metre and protect high-risk individuals, including children and the elderly, from being infected.

He also reminded those with Covid-19 symptoms to immediately seek medical attention.

On Friday, the Health Ministry recorded 1,304 new Covid-19 cases bringing the cumulative total number of cases in the country to 45,095.

A total of 900 patients were discharged, which means the total number of people who have recovered from Covid-19 in the country is 32,969 or 73.1% of total infections.

The country also reported one new Covid-19 fatality, involving a 70-year-old man in Sabah who had a history of high blood pressure, bringing the country’s death toll to 304.

By JO TIMBUONG.

Read more @ https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2020/11/13/health-dg-extends-deepavali-greetings-reminds-m039sians-to-follow-covid-19-sops-as-they-celebrate

Muhyiddin: Celebrate Deepavali joyously, but adhere to Covid-19 SOPs

Saturday, November 14th, 2020

KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama): Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin hopes that Hindus in the country will still celebrate Deepavali joyously on Saturday (Nov 14) while complying with the stipulated standard operating procedures (SOPs) although the country is still struggling with the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Prime Minister, in wishing all Hindus a very Happy Deepavali, invited all Malaysians to respect and appreciate the diversity that exists in the country by sharing in the joy of the celebration.

“Malaysians are lucky because our country comprises multi-cultural and multi-religious communities. Each race has its own culture, tradition and customs, which is a source of strength for us as a plural country that is peaceful, harmonious and united, ” he said.

He said this in his address in conjunction with the Deepavali celebration that was posted on his official Facebook page Friday (Nov 13).

The Prime Minister urged Malaysians of all races to work together to tackle the tough challenges the country is facing.

“We are currently facing various tough challenges. Let’s work together, united by a resilient spirit and persevere for a brighter future for all, ” he said.

He also advised Hindus to celebrate the festival of lights by not shaking hands or gathering in large groups and practising physical distancing.

“The celebration of Deepavali this year is slightly different as it falls at a time the country is facing the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The number of daily cases recorded recently is quite high and the government has had to enforce the conditional MCO to control and curb the spread of the virus in our communities, ” he said. -

by Bernama.

Read more @ https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2020/11/13/muhyiddin-celebrate-deepavali-joyously-but-adhere-to-covid-19-sops

Deepavali: Cops to patrol neighbourhoods to ensure SOP compliance?

Friday, November 13th, 2020
Shoppers buying flowers at Little India in Brickfields, ahead  of the Deepavali celebrations. - NSTP/ASWADI ALIAS.Shoppers buying flowers at Little India in Brickfields, ahead of the Deepavali celebrations. – NSTP/ASWADI ALIAS.

KUALA LUMPUR: The police will be patrolling residential areas and villages to ensure the Covid-19 standard operating procedure (SOP) are complied with during the Deepavali holidays.

Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the decision was similar to the regulation during Hari Raya Aidil Adha celebration to ensure people’s compliance to the SOP and prevent them from crossing districts and state borders.

“During Hari Raya Aidil Adha, we received a number of reports that the public tried to cross the state border to return to their hometowns during the holidays,” he said.

Ismail Sabri said residents living in areas placed under the Enhanced Movement Control Order (EMCO) were not allowed to leave their houses and home celebrations are limited to family members only.

“Those living in states placed under the Conditional MCO (CMCO), are allowed to celebrate Deepavali with not more than 20 guests who are family members.

“For worshippers at the temple, please be reminded to always adhere to the SOP,” he said.

The current guideline allows 30 people to pray at any one time according to the size of the temple to enable physical distancing to take place.

Prayers will be spread out into five sessions from 7am to noon.

Ismail Sabri said the police would also mount additional roadblocks during Deepavali celebrations at toll plaza areas as well as district and state borders.

He said current traffic flow on the eve of Deepavali was still under control and no traffic congestion had been reported as of today.

By Teh Athira Yusof.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/news/nation/2020/11/640916/deepavali-cops-patrol-neighbourhoods-ensure-sop-compliance

Going online for traditional Indian sweets, snacks for new norm Deepavali

Monday, November 9th, 2020
Traditional Indian smackers and sweet treat lovers can now have their favourite delicacies delivered in attractive wooden boxes straight to their doorstep. - NSTP/ZAIN AHMED.Traditional Indian smackers and sweet treat lovers can now have their favourite delicacies delivered in attractive wooden boxes straight to their doorstep. – NSTP/ZAIN AHMED.

KUANTAN: Traditional Indian smackers and sweet treat lovers can now have their favourite delicacies delivered in attractive wooden boxes straight to their doorstep.

The Indian snacks business of B.Sri Themudu has also not escaped the vagaries of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Instead of lamenting his unfortunate predicament, he has instead embraced the wide reach of the internet to get in touch with his prospective customers.

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It has been a busy week for the 39-year-old along with his six workers with Deepavali just-around corner as they sort out orders to ensure their customers receive the sweets and snacks before the festive holidays.

Sri said he usually prefers to be physically present when delivering the gift hampers to customers and clients from multi-national companies but that could not be the case anymore.

“In the past, I adopted a personal touch by meeting customers. However, times have changed and these days due to the pandemic, the entire process is done online so it requires me to ensure my website is regularly updated.

“Every year, I introduce new packages and promotions depending on the current demand. This year my team has been spending long hours in front of the computer as we customise the orders, design attractive layouts and deliver them,” he told New Straits Times today.

Sri, who holds a job as a sustainable development education programme consultant, said his internet-based business had also led to the creation of jobs for a group of passionate individuals, mostly elderly mothers from Perak and Kuala Lumpur who are responsible for preparing the traditional sweets and snacks.

“Upon receiving the orders through the store’s official website, my team will finalise the list before the women get down to work. The sweets and snacks are prepared within 24 to 48 hours to ensure their freshness.

“This year I recruited some part-time delivery riders to help us send the hampers. People have lost their jobs due to the pandemic so I am trying to do my part to help those in need,” said the father-of-two.

Sri said besides reducing plastic waste, he choose the colourful wooden boxes and canisters as they could be later used as multipurpose storage containers.

“The sweets and snacks are packed in high-quality reusable canisters, and air-tight glass jars. The environment-friendly gift boxes come in various sizes and customised according to customers’ preferences,” he said.

The Masters in Entrepreneurship holder, whose gift sets are priced between RM10 and RM450, depending on the size of the box, type of sweets and quantity, said among the popular sweets were “athirasam”, a traditional doughnut pastry, “chinipagu” (brown sugar coconut truffles), Boondhi Laddu, Mysore-Pak and Rava Ladoo.

By T.N.Alagesh.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/news/nation/2020/11/639624/going-online-traditional-indian-sweets-snacks-new-norm-deepavali

NST Leader: Free to hate?

Thursday, October 29th, 2020
Men hold signs reading ' Places of Worship are Holy. Don't touch the Holy' during a demonstration against French President's comments over Prophet Muhammad cartoons, in Istanbul. - Muslims across the world have reacted furiously to French President's robust defence of the right to mock religion following the murder of a French schoolteacher who had shown his pupils cartoons of the prophet. (Photo by Yasin AKGUL / AFP)Men hold signs reading ‘ Places of Worship are Holy. Don’t touch the Holy’ during a demonstration against French President’s comments over Prophet Muhammad cartoons, in Istanbul. – Muslims across the world have reacted furiously to French President’s robust defence of the right to mock religion following the murder of a French schoolteacher who had shown his pupils cartoons of the prophet. (Photo by Yasin AKGUL / AFP)

TODAY, close to two billion Muslims around the world celebrate Maulidur Rasul, the birthday of the most revered man in Islam, Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.).

Yet, politicians in France, led by its president, Emmanuel Macron, have timed the moment to caricature the man and the religion that he spread to the world 1,431 years ago.

We hope politicians like Macron and Gert Wilder in Holland are doing it out of ignorance. Because hatred can be cured by education. This is why our Religious Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Dr Zulkifli Mohamad al-Bakri gifted the book, The Sublime Qualities of the Prophet Muhammad, to the French ambassador here. Consider this a Muslim generosity.

Not unlike the one shown by Prophet Isa (pbuh), or Jesus Christ (pbuh) to the Christians, more than 2,000 years ago.

The learned will know where free speech ends and hate speech begins. Admittedly, there is no international legal definition of hate speech.

But here is one sanctioned by the United Nations: any kind of communication in speech, writing or behaviour, that attacks or uses pejorative or discriminatory language with reference to a person or a group on the basis of who they are, in other words, based on their religion, ethnicity, nationality, race, colour, descent, gender or other identity factor.

The words and behaviour of Macron, Gilder and people of the ilk are surely one of these, if not all.

If the caricature of the Prophet and Islam is motivated not by ignorance but by some evil design then we are in dangerous territory.

A heart that is filled with hatred is a devil’s workshop. To these troubled souls, we recommend some worldly literature. Consider just one: the UN Charter. An “Idiot’s Guide to the UN Charter”, if there is one, would put the raison d’être of the world body thus: to end the scourge of war and hate speech.

The first is common knowledge, but the second, many give it a miss. The preamble to the UN Charter jogs the memory of the latter in these words of its second mission: to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small.

This is no surprise. After all, this 75-year-old charter was drafted not long after German hate speech against the Jews ended in the Holocaust. But as the UN Secretary-General António Guterres told the assembly of men and women gathered at the launch of the UN Strategy and Plan of Action on Hate Speech on June 18 last year in New York, “we are in danger of forgetting this lesson”.

He spelt out his fear thus: “In both liberal democracies and authoritarian regimes, some political leaders are bringing the hate-fuelled ideas and language of these groups into the mainstream, normalising them, coarsening the public discourse and weakening the social fabric.”

There is a Macron and Wilder somewhere there. Yet, there is no word from the UN on Macron and Gilder’s hate speech. This notwithstanding, Guterres’s language in the foreward to the hate speech action plan is a call to action: “As a matter of principle, the UN must confront hate speech at every turn.

Silence can signal indifference to bigotry and intolerance, even as a situation escalates and the vulnerable become victims.” Now the vulnerable have become victims, where is the UN?

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/leaders/2020/10/636189/nst-leader-free-hate

Rotarian’s bring Deepavali joy for underprivileged children

Thursday, October 29th, 2020
Children at the JB Seva Gurukulam Care Centre pose with the RCPL members for a group photo. - NSTP/VINCENT D’SILVAChildren at the JB Seva Gurukulam Care Centre pose with the RCPL members for a group photo. – NSTP/VINCENT D’SILVA

JOHOR BARU: There was a rare ray of celebratory joy for 35 children of the JB Seva Gurukulam Care Centre here when members of the Rotary Club of Puteri Lagoon (RCPL) visited them to bring early Deepavali joy.

Rarely, if ever, have these underprivileged kids, aged between three and 14, have meat with their meals at the daycare centre simply because the place struggles under the financial burden of its upkeep.

Madam Thavanantheny Muniandy manages the place with two female helpers who cook, clean, and help supervise the children.

The cost of rental of the upper floor of the shop-house in Skudai where the centre is located, the utilities bill and salaries for the helpers gobble up the shoestring budget that keeps the centre going just barely.

Not surprisingly, vegetarian dishes are all that the caregivers can afford provide for the kids.

Children at the JB Seva Gurukulam Care Centre take their seats at tables arranged for them. -- NSTP/VINCENT D’SILVAChildren at the JB Seva Gurukulam Care Centre take their seats at tables arranged for them. — NSTP/VINCENT D’SILVA

Thus when the RCPL members visited the centre with packed meals from Marrybrown that featured fried chicken, chicken nuggets, French fries, coleslaw, biscuits and Ribena, the kids lapped up the treat.

The visitors also brought stationery items like pencils, colouring pencils included, erasers and sharpeners. The items left the kids momentarily feeling what they have not felt before – an embarrassment of riches.

RCPL president Yee Woon Seng said he was moved to see some of the children speak to him in Mandarin, and hear others chat in Bahasa Malaysia and Tamil with the ethnically diverse members of the RCPL team that came a visiting.

“In whatever the language stream these children are being educated in, they appear to have the potential to do well,” Yee said.

“It was heartwarming to see the good cheer we brought them with the Deepavali season so close,” he remarked.

He mentioned that the sponsorship of foods and stationery could bring some light cheer and happiness to the lives of the children during this festive season and inspire the public to continue to care for the underprivileged notwithstanding the global pandemic.

On a daily basis, the children are kept busy at the centre before they go off to afternoon school sessions.

Similarly, the morning session pupils are kept busy with their homework when they return after school in the afternoon.

The children are the offspring of parents in the B40 group who either because of abandonment by spouses or from other ills that plague poor families, are compelled to place their kids at the day care centre while they are away at work.

Work for these parents are mainly in the menial categories such as janitor, cleaner or manual labourer, usually at factories near where the day care centre in Skudai is located.

The parents leave their children at the centre before they go off to work each day and fetch them on the way back.

For some of the kids who live nearby, they are able to get to the centre and back on their own. The centre opens at 7 in the morning and closes at 9pm.

Thavanantheny, who supervises the brood of 35 kids, a few of whom are orphans, said the centre is entirely dependent on the donations of well-wishers and sympathisers.

“There is no surplus after we pay the rental, utilities bill, and the salaries of the two women minders who cook for the kids, clean the premises and otherwise see that the children are attended to,” she said.

“That is why vegetarian meals are all that we can provide the kids,” she added.

“It is a rare occasion when private donors like this RCPL comes along to give the children a treat,” she remarked.

Thavanantheny said the centre will have to subsist on a shoestring until such time when a slew of donors of generous bent come to their rescue.

By VINCENT D’SILVA.

Read more  @ https://www.nst.com.my/news/nation/2020/10/636420/rotarians-bring-deepavali-joy-underprivileged-children

In Maulidur Rasul message, Muhyiddin calls on Muslims to spend time in ‘munajat’ amid pandemic

Thursday, October 29th, 2020

Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 29 (Bernama) — In conjunction with Maulidur Rasul celebration today, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin called on all Muslims to engage themselves and spend more time in ‘munajat’ as the country is still facing challenges resulting from Covid-19 as well as trying to revive the economy and strengthen unity among the people.

‘Munajat’ is making supplication or special prayer in the form of zikir to pray for Allah’s blessings, help and protection.

The Prime Minister said all those challenges should at least strengthen the commitment of Muslims to loving and gaining more understanding of the teachings of Prophet Muhammad who never stop making supplication for his Ummah even in his final prayer.

“Hopefully, with all our efforts, we will attain the abundant mercy and blessings of Allah SWT, and may all of us be placed among those He loved and the believers who will get the blessed syafaat of Rasulullah SAW. InsyaAllah,” he said in his special message posted on Facebook.

Muhyiddin said Prophet Muhammad is the ultimate example and source of reference of the one with unparalleled qualities of Rabbani (everything that Allah loves) and praiseworthy morals.

“Each year, we commemorate the birthday of Prophet Muhammad SAW as proof of our love and appreciation for his struggles and the sacrifices he made for his ummah. The theme of this year’s celebration is Ummah Rabbani Negara Harmoni,” he said.

Muhyiddin said the theme was chosen to illustrate the importance of Rabbani qualities and the obedience of servants to the Creator which will eventually lead to the harmony of the ummah and the country.

“In conjunction with Maulidur Rasul celebration, I would like to call on all of you to recite as many salawat as you can upon our Prophet Muhammad SAW, to learn his seerah (life story) and to follow the sunnah (practices) of the most noble and beloved Prophet,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister also praised the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) for initiating the ‘Malaysia Berselawat’ campaign.

Through the campaign, Malaysian Muslims from all walks of life were encouraged to make a video clip of their recital of salawat upon the Prophet and share it on their social media platform using the hashtag #SemarakCintaRasul and to tag Jakim on the post.

“This is not just a good initiative which complies with the new norms that we must adopt in our daily life, but more importantly, the recital of selawat is also to show our love for Rasulullah SAW,” he added. —

by BERNAMA.

Read more @ theborneopost.com/2020/10/29/in-maulidur-rasul-message-muhyiddin-calls-on-muslims-to-spend-time-in-munajat-amid-pandemic/

Harmony, key to peace in multiracial societies

Friday, October 2nd, 2020
While Malaysia is resisting any form of race or region-based violence, a number of nations failed. A peaceful political landscape in Malaysia lasted with the coexistence of race-based political parties to run the government for decades.- NSTP/GHAZALI KORI.While Malaysia is resisting any form of race or region-based violence, a number of nations failed. A peaceful political landscape in Malaysia lasted with the coexistence of race-based political parties to run the government for decades.- NSTP/GHAZALI KORI.

LETTER: A peaceful political landscape in Malaysia lasted with the coexistence of race-based political parties to run the government for decades.

Nonetheless, while Malaysia is resisting any form of race or region-based violence, a number of nations failed.

Czechoslovakia which became independent from the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1918 was divided as the Czech Republic and Slovakia in 1993.

The brutal ethnic cleansing in Bosnia-Herzegovina in the early 1990s that caused more than 100,000 civilian deaths and thousands of Muslim women being raped is still to go in oblivion.

Recognition of the Christian majority South Sudan as a new nation in the world map in 2011 is the end result of decades of racial violence in the region.

Our next generations, however, will continue to wonder on the justification of today’s global pandemic of racial or religious dominance.

Among them include extermination of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar; the massacre of Hindus and Muslims in Sri Lanka; the violent uprise of RSS to pave the path for India as a Hindu country; ethnic cleansing of minority races in different parts of Africa; the so-called “holy-war” against Muslim men, women, and children by their “brothers” in Islam; oppression of the Tibetans, the Christians, and the Uighur Muslims in China; violent ousting of the Palestinians from their homes; and right-wing or white supremacist movements to reshape political landscapes in many Western countries – all will be remembered!

Given the facts on what has happened in the past and what is happening now, can we go beyond race or religion-based politics, be it on a local or international scale?

The point is, existence of races and religions is real, as are the differences between different races or religions.

Should there be a need for the co-existence of different races and religions, it must preserve the harmony. It is imperative for a multi-racial country and is challenging but not impossible. What is urgent is to address the root of that challenge.

Success in fragmenting any major race of a nation into smaller pieces may be viewed as a sign for the denial of race and religion-based politics. But, it is not the sign towards harmony.

The history of race and religion-based political wrestling would confirm this. The moment the strongest race in a community being fragmented, sporadic instability starts crippling the harmony between different races and religions.

Hence, both the race or religion-based injustice and the anti-racial or religious sentiment are an equal threat in preserving harmony. Surely, just politicians who are indeed rare in breed can do justice in politics while keeping the spirit of race and religion alive that would bring harmony at everyone’s door-step.

by PROF. DR. MOHAMMAD TARIQUR RAHMAN.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/letters/2020/10/629100/harmony-key-peace-multiracial-societies

‘Projek Bina Bangsa’ aims to foster unity

Sunday, September 13th, 2020
Pusaka founder and director Eddin Khoo with Allianz Malaysia Berhad chief executive officer Zakri Khir (right) at the launch of Projek Bina Bangsa today. - NSTP/EIZAIRI SHAMSUDINPusaka founder and director Eddin Khoo with Allianz Malaysia Berhad chief executive officer Zakri Khir (right) at the launch of Projek Bina Bangsa today. – NSTP/EIZAIRI SHAMSUDIN

KUALA LUMPUR: A series of books discussing notable occasions in the country’s history with the aim of fostering unity among Malaysians will soon hit the shelves.

In commemoration of the Rukun Negara’s 50th anniversary, the book series called “Projek Bina Bangsa” will explore the foundation of the nation through past events such as the Malayan Union, the Formation of Malaysia, and the introduction of the New Economic Policy, among others.

Author Eddin Khoo, the son of the late Professor Tan Sri Dr Khoo Kay Kim who was one of the drafters of the Rukun Negara, said the project, of 10 books, was essentially about putting historical events into context.

“The books cover a range of topics including the National Language Act as well as looking into other things such as vernacular schools and how certain decisions were made (then) on the plurality in our education (system).

“The book will also talk about the the Malay Reservation Enactment 1913 which was not just about land but it was really (about) defining communities…

“The book series will end with an edition on Wawasan 2020 (Vision 2020). I just got word that I’ve finally gotten an interview with (former premier Tun) Dr Mahathir Mohamad to reflect on his Wawasan 2020 and (content) of that interview will of course be in the book,” he said.

Khoo said this during the launch of the first edition in the series titled “Rukunegara: A Brief Introduction”. The series is an initiative by KL-based cultural organisation Pusaka and Allianz Malaysia Bhd.

“How many people know about Tunku Abdul Rahman’s (Malaysia’s first prime minister) speech on the day he resigned or the full content of the Rukun Negara including the preamble or the speech by (former minister) Tun Ghazali Shafie?

“I have woven in a lot of their own quotations (into the books) so that they could illuminate us about what the ideas were, what the objectives were and what the quarrels were (about).

“Another thing I must say is how beautiful the language was – the eloquence that went behind these things that seem to be totally lost in this very reductive culture,” he said.

Khoo said the first book, which was on the Rukun Negara, would present past speeches of former prime minister Tun Abdul Razak on the content of national philosophy.

The Pusaka and Allianz Malaysia founder and director expressed hope that the presentation of such occasions involving past leaders in the book would allow Malaysians to have more frank debates.

“I included some newspaper cuttings of Tun Razak’s speech in the subject of a liberal and just society and this (speech) came a day after one of our government agencies described (the word) liberal as an open, free belief system that is motivated by lust.

“And so there (should be) discussions on how do we encapsulate the concept of liberalism which is there in the preamble to the Declaration of Independence and of the Rukun Negara. Hopefully this debate can be sparked.”

The other titles in the series will cover topics such as the Malayan Union, the making of the Malayan Constitution, the formation of Malaysia, the National Language Act and National Cultural Congress, the Malacca Digest, the Treaty of Pangkor, the Malay Reservation Enactment 1913, the New Economic Policy, and Wawasan 2020.

The book series will be available online starting Sept 14 and at major bookstores by the end of the month.

By Arfa Yunus

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/news/nation/2020/09/624017/projek-bina-bangsa-aims-foster-unity

‘Dunia Melayu’ today is akin to a ‘Mimpi Indah’

Monday, September 7th, 2020
Caption: A makyong performance. Our culture should be popularised on the international stage. FILE PICCaption: A makyong performance. Our culture should be popularised on the international stage. FILE PIC

LETTERS: Dunia Melayu has existed for more than a millennia. From ancient Champa to the oldest monarchies in the world like Kedah (Langkasuka), Melaka, Kelantan, Patani, Perak, Johor Riau Lingga and Sri Vijaya, the culture has dominated our history.

The lure of Dunia Melayu was the promise of riches, holistic culture, or “adat dan adab”, knowledge and the beautiful balance of worldly and spiritual life.

Yet, this culture can be so easily obliterated, give or take 100 years. We must save it from systematic annihilation. How? Learn from history.

It is common knowledge that there was a thriving Muslim sultanate that ruled in Manila 300 years before the Spanish arrived in the Philippines.

How was this obliterated from history? The Spaniards built their version of Manila atop the very city it trampled on.And what about Melaka? What have we lost in this city that gave birth to our warriors and queens, master strategists and wise elder statesmen?

Melaka of old, whose busiest waterway in the world bears its name since ancient times, and Malacca today are worlds apart.

The city is devoid of a historical soul, its disconnect so jarring that I find it hard to breathe in Jonker Street.

I was, however, relieved to see that on the eve of National Day last month, Mendam Berahi sailed once more in Sungai Melaka in memory of Hang Tuah’s bahtera.

Today, there seems to be a lingering doubt of who we are. We find it hard to believe our Budaya Melayu is worthy of the world stage.

Rich civilisations are traceable to an equally rich literature. And ours is rich, indeed. Manuskrip Melayu accounts for more than 10,000 manuscripts, available in more than 150 museums and libraries across the globe in four major scripts: Rencong, Chamic, Jawi and Roman.

And yet their wisdom lies in vaulted rooms under correct temperatures, beyond our reach.Where did we go wrong? Why have we become so apologetic of our culture? Of our hikayat? Our performing arts? Our kebaya? Our kuih and woodcarving craft. Our makyong. Wayang Kulit, Asyik and Zapin.

Let us take our place on the world stage. The strong revival of Dunia Melayu can lead to a strong identity and confidence of the people.

This will spill over to other aspects — such as empowerment, professionalism, economic strength, education and strong roots promoting a balanced and holistic foundation — which translate into the nation’s better performance in terms of political stability, economically and thought leadership rooted in Tamadun Dunia Melayu.

And yet today, Dunia Melayu is akin to mimpi indah. Many cultural traditions, knowledge and craftmanship have been lost, and in direct proportion, the confidence and intelligentsia of the Malay world are adversely affected in the process.

From the 1980s to today, the government has taken the approach that economic empowerment is key to ensuring the prosperity of society.

Through the Bumiputera Economic Transformation Roadmap, the government worked towards the development and fair representation of Bumiputeras in the economy.

While this helped to kick-start economic revitalisation, development through purely economic means resulted in a new generation of Melayu who has lost touch with its roots and identity, and needs to grow as a people.

There is a call for a more holistic development, which incorporates socio-economic needs — like economic strength, education, moral values, social interaction, growth, arts and human development, knowledge sharing, spirituality, and the people’s shared aspiration — to live more liberated lives throughout the full spectrum of existence.

We seek the Shared Prosperity Dream on billboards that scream to our children with personalities tied to the violin they hold and the science they seek. So take a deep breath and read slowly after me: a nation without culture will be one without a future.

by Ninot Aziz.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/letters/2020/09/622426/dunia-melayu-today-akin-mimpi-indah