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The Thinker

The Thinker
Staring out the BUS, thinking abt life..

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

My Heart Pours Out-Understanding and Acceptance vs Tolerance

I find the article below very interesting and very intrigue as it speaks my thought out clear and loud. Those who has somehow come across my path during my tenure as VP of University Malaya's Student Union would know that I've speak on this topic fondly about how tolerance is vastly different from acceptance or 'understanding' my words.
Malaysians (specifically our politicians) always talk about tolerance or toleransi in Malay language which means I accept your ways and manner because I'm told to do so and force to do so by my culture. If given a chance, the blade that has been kept in the pocket for so long would be taken out and stuck in the heart.

Now..would we want that to happen here in Malaysia? Although I don't write a long article to justify my means but in my own small way, I've been advocating to building this nation upon acceptance and understanding where things like the example of certain race not knowing the needs and culture of other minorities due to fault of our education system and fault of our elected leaders who do not have the nation's heart at their peak of interest, fault of a nation that only educates the needs of one race where all must obey and adhere too without any regards to needs and practices of others.

I do not propagate that the non-Malays question the royalty and special Malay rights because if you look at it with perspective, there is nothing to argue about (arguments only arise when these 'sensitive' topics are brought out of context and expanded based on certain parties whim and fancy. Let us truly be a nation that blends culture and embrace/celebrate the difference we have and treasure our eventful history and move on. Let the tears and bloodshed be a thing of the past and not threaten each other will black history. Let the pass be the pass and may all God loving people work together, respect each other, love thy neighbour as thy self and prove the world that Malaysia is Truly Asia, Malaysia can really be ONE MALAYSIA, Malaysia is not MALAYsia, Malaysia can reach Vision 2020 and Malaysia may one day arise to be more than just a country recognise as above Singapore and below Thailand.

Enjoy the attach article from Malaysiakini.

Beef, pork and the case of 'Pendidikan Moral' for all by TG | May 11, 09 2:31pm

Just like any other peace loving ordinary Malaysian, I was attracted to the new slogan by our Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak. I found the following on 'Acceptance and tolerance' at our PM's website.

There's quite a big difference between the two-tolerance and acceptance. When you say you tolerate, you don't quite like it, but you accept it because you have no choice. But if you talk in terms of acceptance, it indicates a state of mind that you are embracing something positively.

It's important for us to migrate from this concept of mere tolerance to acceptance. Acceptance in the sense that you are ready to accept things. If you're willing to accept things, if you embrace things willingly, then I think your capacity to look at things in a more positive manner is much better than mere tolerance.

That's important because then you don't have any baggage and you're not weighed down by any negative pre-conceived notions and you're willing to look at the best the person can offer. This is what we require for Malaysia. We have to get the best of the Malays, the best of the Chinese, the best of the Indians, the best of the others and mold them together so that collectively we'll be much bigger than the sum of the individuals.

This is definitely a way forward for all Malaysians. Even in our school syllabus, our students are taught (actually are forced to memorise) on ‘tolerance' in their Pendidikan Moral studies.

The following is taken from the website of the Education Ministry:

'1.6 Toleransi asas perpaduan perpaduan kaum:

Kesanggupan bertolak ansur, sabar dan mengawal diri bagi mengelakkan berlakunya pertelingkahan dan perselisihan faham demi kesejahteraan hidup. Toleransi menwujudkan perpaduan masyarakat, amalan hidup pelbagai kaum dihormati

- Agama / Kepercayaan
- Cara hidup
- Adat resam

Menghormati amalan hidup pelbagai kaum

i. Membincangkan contoh-contoh adat resam dan kepercayaan pelbagai kaum berkaitan dengan kelahiran, perkahwinan dan kematian.'

On paper, it seems that it's not impossible to achieve our PM's aspiration as children are being taught on this issue since their schooling days. But hold your horses first. There is a big loophole here due to our own educational system.

The problem is the 'Pendidikan Moral' subject which is compulsory for all non-Muslim students only. You may ask me whether this is really a big problem. Let me illustrate then an incident which happened at Tekam Plantation Resort in Jerantut, Pahang last year.

Our company organised a team-building trip there late last year. In our organisation, around 30 percent of the staff are Hindus. One the first day itself, I did notice that they served beef frankfurters, and there was no notice to inform the guests about it.

When confronted, one of the food and beverage staff there denied that it was beef and said that it was actually chicken. We couldn't prove it as they had already cleared the remaining food from the table.

The next day, they served beef curry puffs! Now, as Malaysians, all of us know that Muslims don't consume pork and non-halal meat and Hindus/Buddhist don't consume beef. But some of my Hindu colleagues actually consumed these curry puffs before someone realised it.

We were so angry and disappointed with the F&B manager and boycotted the lunch provided by them in the afternoon. Things improved a little bit after that.

Later that day, one of my colleagues informed us that the F&B Manager admitted that he was unaware that Hindus do not consume beef. Although I was shocked at the beginning, further discussion among us highlighted a much more serious issue.

We believe that he must be from a school where more than 90 percent of the students were Malays. He would have scored good grades for the UPSR examination and then sent to a Mara college where (almost all the students are Malays). He then would have pursued his course at UiTM (the same case with the majority of students being Malays there).

How do you expect him to know that Hindus cannot consume beef since he was technically isolated from plural society for almost 20 years. On top of that, no 'Pendidikan Moral' subject was taught to him.

Suddenly, you put him in the job market of a plural society and expect him to know that he must easily assimilate with people from other religions with some of whom consume pork and non-halal food and worship idols!

My anger towards this F&B manager turned into pity. Who can actually blame him as he has been systematically trained not to accept people of other races/religions as his own countrymen?

It may not be too late for our new education minister to make 'Pendidikan Moral' a compulsory subject for all so that at least the Muslims in this country are aware of do's and don'ts of the people of other religions and vice-versa.