Saturday, February 12, 2011

External & Internal Influences

SOME of us are convinced that we know everything there is to know about religions; we believe that we have all the solutions to the problems of this world. And because some of us are also the so-called "learned people" who are known as "religious scholars", we feel that we have the authority to interpret our holy books. Furthermore, we impose upon others our "learned" interpretations. We proclaim with confidence and authority that negative elements must have originated from other cultures and religions.

Thus the Valentine's Day celebration, according to the fatwa issued by Jabatan Kemajuan Islam Malaysia (JAKIM), "has elements of Christianity and the practice is mixed with immoral acts and are prohibited by Islam that clearly contradicts the belief, Sharia and Islamic morality." [The Star]

More than 20 years ago, I was teaching maths and science for a little over 3 years in a private college in KK. One of the things I can still remember about my teaching life is that the vast majority of the students were not so generous with giving credits to their teachers. If they did badly in the exams, it must have been because their teachers were not so good in imparting knowledge. But on the other hand, if they did well, it must have been because of their own hardwork—not so much because of their teachers' input.

Some of us are like that too. Whenever we do something wrong, it's always because of the negative influences from other places, cultures or religions; and hardly ever because of problems originating from within ourselves or our religions. But whenever we do something good, then it must be because of our cultures and religions.

We tend to ignore the fact that in spite of the same kind of negative influences all of us in Malaysia are exposed to, whether in terms of foreign cultures and religions, some of us stand out from the rest in terms of the highest number of social ills such as drug addiction and baby-dumping cases.

I think sometimes we need to be brave and look within ourselves and find the source of the problems there. For if we continue to search for the answers—or blames—from beyond ourselves, we shall not find the source of the problems; hence we shall never be able to find the real solutions.

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