Let's return to desirable M'sian normsMP SPEAKS Malaysians would have been heartened yesterday when some MPs belonging to PAS and NGOs led by Muslims aired their dismay over the ritual slaughter of cows that took place in some schools in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor.
This was to commemorate Hari Raya Korban or Eid-al-Adha, which is one of two important Muslim celebrations in a year.
Nobody would object to the way the feast is remembered but it is heartening to note that there are Muslims who think that the ritual slaughter of cows on the premises of schools is not something that should take place, and before children who would be witnesses to the spectacle.
The politician Zaid Ibrahim (right) has tweeted his uneasiness when at the age of six he witnessed the spectacle of the ritual slaughter of a buffalo and was rendered squeamish by the struggle put up by the animal.
I may be wrong but don’t think there could have been any other reaction on the part of tender minds upon observing such an ordeal.I congratulate Zaid on his candor in conveying his queasiness but, at first, he appeared to a lonely voice of remonstrance.
Thus it was a heartening sequel when PAS MPs, Mohd Hatta Ramli and Khalid Samad, joined in the chorus of voices that held the practice of ritual slaughter of cows in schools as something that should not take place.
The head of the National Union of Teaching Profession, a Muslim, also joined in the disapproval of the practice. Most non-Muslims - Hindus, Buddhists and Christians alike - would have applauded this chorus of naysayers and their objections to the practice.
As the Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad (left) observed, the practice of ritual slaughter in schools was unheard of in past times; it is a recent introduction that has made an appearance in the cold climate of insensitivity to the feelings of others when a practice is held in exclusive pursuit of a religious requirement, oblivious of place and conditions.
I contend that discretion is the better part of ritual observation of a religious practice and the dismay that was expressed by some Muslims leaders over its absence, as was the case when ritual slaughter took place in some schools, is confirmation that some vestiges of the old climate of racial and religious sensitivity are still present. This must be reasserted and promoted to be the norm once again.
Waning sensitivity to the feelings of others was also evidenced by the school circular that required teachers involved in the end-of-year SPM and STPM examinations to be present for a briefing on the last school day before the Deepavali celebrations on the weekend of Nov 2-3.
The circular was callous in its insensitivity to Hindu teachers who would be inconvenienced by the requirement that they be present at a briefing on the eve of a religious celebration.
No citizen moved by the Malaysian spirit, and though not of the same religion or culture, could be anything but quietly enthused by the annual spectacle of Muslims and Chinese preparing for an early start to their celebrations of Adilfitri and Chinese New Year respectively.
No Malaysian-spirited citizen would seek to spoil or detain them in their expectant and necessarily early reception of these annual religious and culturalobservations.
I claim this humane feeling of kindred understanding, even enthusiasm, has become part of the national culture, departures from which are such practices as ritual slaughter in schools and the detention of teachers for briefings on the eve of a religious celebration.
I commend all who have spoken in objection to such departures assustainers of a Malaysian spirit which, though it has waned over the years. is in dire need of sustenance.
What was the norm in the past ought to once again be revived to become the usual and the regular. The happiness of the nation is dependent upon it.
M KULASEGARAN is the DAP’s parliamentarian for Ipoh Barat.