Posted by: malaysianchristian | June 15, 2007

Malaysia, After Lina Joy (1)

Dear Hilmi,

How are you? It’s been more than 20 years since we’ve last been in touch.   I remember those days in school fondly.  Both of us transfered from another school and landed up sitting next to each other 🙂 You still look almost the same only with the extra hairs on your face.  I’m losing hair rapidly.

I was at the DAP Forum on Malaysia, After Lina Joy: A Dialogue and was a little surprised with the overflow in the meeting room. I don’t we had a true free flow dialogue but it was a good chance to hear some of the views in person. These big events are always good for awareness but less so for in depth conversation.  It’s just the limitations.  Glad to see you there too.  What do you think about the dialogue?

I’m reading here that it’s too one sided. Nice to read more personal accounts here by Zainol Abideen  and Khoo Kay Peng . I had the same feeling too with KJ John on Yusri’s participation in the event.  His presence was one reason why I decided to go even though as he mentioned he represented a minority opinion in the forum, the fact is I was interested to hear his presentation of what could very well be the majority opinion of the country.  I confess, I do empathize with his desire to be a good muslim and faithful to his faith and beliefs. I tried hard to put myself into his shoes as a spokesperson and as an ordinary guy with a family like me.  I read some interesting thoughts by a friend of mine:

“Given my many interactions with PAS members, it has been necessary for me to put myself in their shoes.It’s of no use saying to them, we want a secular state and what you’re doing impinges on the framework of our secular constitution, therefore you should stop what you’re doing and stick to the constitution.”

I agree with this friend’s observation and I feel the same way  when it comes to make sure we are talking to each other, because I know that you take your religion seriously and there’s no separation for you.  But what does that ideal mean in the light of the complexity of living with someone like me? For me, I want to integrate my faith with my way of life as a Christian too, so I can relate with another person who wants to do the same.  But how shall we do it? Is there a way for us ordinary guys to talk about this beyond a purely secular state or purely theocratic state way of thinking? Since like Yusri said in the forum things are complicated, but then again it can’t be too muddled until we can’t engage in decent conversation and constructive efforts 🙂

It’s a little late and my mind is probably moving into incoherent stage.  Thanks for keeping in touch.  I would value your thoughts. Oh yes before I forget, best birthday wishes to your son, I’m sure he’s going to have a wonderful birthday party next week.  Wish we could be there 🙂 Let me know whether the present we got for him did arrive.  Sometimes the postal service may have hiccups!

Until the next round .. God bless you, and may peace be with you. Don’t work too hard and take care of your health.

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