I write this on Mid-Autumn Day, after a week of attending Lantern Festivals in support.
Over the course of the last few months, Subangites have been understandably worried of the racial and religious rhetorics played up by certain quarters during the State Elections. As we reel away from those events, many have asked of the direction of Selangor and as a whole, our country.
As your elected representative, it remains my principle to build a Malaysia for all Malaysians, regardless of race or religion. In the last term, I have endeavoured to demonstrate through action that it is possible to celebrate differences.
I am a Christian, but it has not stopped me from attending other religious events such as Ramadhan, Chitirai Pournamni, Wesak Day, Vaisakhi and so on. What I’d do in advance is explain to the organisers what I can do and cannot do during the proceedings. In the last 5 years I have found all places of worship to be welcoming and respectful – and this goes both ways. Along the way, I have engaged in conversation with believers and devotees of all religions of why they and I believe in what we believe in, how we pray and worship and so on.
I am a Chinese, but I join in celebration during Hari Raya, Deepavali, Gawai, Kaamatan and so on. In fact, my immediate neighbours who live behind my house and on my left and right are Malays. During Raya, I’d send over cookies and similarly during Chinese New Year, they’d send over jellies and packet drinks. Sometimes, after an event at the nearby surau, if there is extra food, they will pack some for my family and me to have supper.
We have also organised Muslim friendly Dumpling Making events using halal ingredients during Duan Wu. In these programmes we share the history of how these festivals came to be.
During Ramadhan, with the mosque’s permission, we also bring non-Muslim residents living in its surrounding to break fast together. To our surprise, it was the first time some of them stepped into the mosque, despite living nearby for decades!
In the last week during the Lantern Festival programmes, I saw that Malaysia in Subang Jaya. Malays, Chinese and Indians came together to feast and walk around housing areas with lanterns in hand.
I saw communities coming to the middle to understand one another. There are enough people who believe in a Malaysia for all Malaysians – and insofar that this is true, unity will always triumph. Worry not, fellow Malaysians. We are in good hands.