Saturday, August 4, 2012

IS RELIGIOUS FREEDOM THE RIGHT OF ALL CITIZENS?

Screenshot of article in The Straits Times 4 August 2012

Since my previous blog post, the controversial Malaysia National Day song "Janji Ditepati" has garnered over 330,000 views. While the majority prefer to remain silent viewers, more than 33,000 have expressed 'Dislike' for the song as opposed to 550 who 'Like' it. The video also drew 9,000+ comments. The number of Dislikes and Comments could well be a record of sorts.

To add to the controversy, there are now charges that the tune was plagiarized from an Indonesian gospel song. One of the song's three composers Jasnie Mohd Yaakub has denied the allegation, claiming that the tune came to him 'all of a sudden'.

The Indonesian contingent at the Olympics 2012 (top), and the Malaysian contingent (above). Both peoples share common historical and ethnic roots.


Viewing the video in question was an eye-opener for me in many ways. It shows the vast political, cultural and religious gulf  that separates Malaysia and Indonesia. Indonesians are made up of various ethnic groups, the largest being the Javanese. Others include the Sudanese, Chinese, Bugis, Acehnese, Minangabaus and Bataks. Except for the Chinese, people from the other groups who have emigrated and settled in Malaysia over the centuries are classified as 'Malays' today and given bumiputra status.

But while Indonesians have the freedom of choice in religion, the Malays in Malaysia are born Muslims. Their religion is an integral part of their culture and identity. A Malay who is a Christian will be ostracized by his community, and labelled an infidel. Malay Christians usually keep their faith a secret. A non-Muslim who marries a Muslim is required to change his name and faith.

We have Indonesian Christians, even Arab Christians who openly proclaim their faith, but only closet Malay Christians here in Malaysia.



That's why Malaysians will do a double-take when they view the "Serukan Namanya" (Call His Name) video. The singers look so much like Malays, and they are singing gospel songs of praise to Jesus in a language that is so similar to the Malay language!

Any comments on this post?

2 comments:

Antares said...

What comes through clearly is the exuberance, vitality and unfaked joy emanating from performers as well as the audience in the gospel song video. Compare it with the dead energy, fake symbolism and absolute lack of inspiration in the music, lyrics and imagery of Rais Yatim's pathetic attempt at creating a hit. It's the difference between LIFE and DEATH :-)

Anonymous said...

Ask Rais Yatim where are his ancestral roots..?...pathetic attempt to cover up..???!!!