Thursday, 6 January 2011

A tale of two "Elegant Silences"??

Since the issue erupted last week, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak
has not issued a formal statement on the matter.
~In Najib’s silence, priests forced to clarify ‘blunder’

“There seems to be suggestions that Pakiam had relented to the requests
and this is putting him in a bad light. It is not right.
“However, it is true... the damage has already been done.
Many people are very angry that the directive was issued in the first place
and this does will not look good on the government,” he said.

~Fr. Simon Labrooy, In Najib’s silence, priests forced to clarify ‘blunder’

"Contacted for an official response today, the office's media advisor
Jalaluddin Bahaudin said: "I don't want to comment on this matter".....
It is understood that no hymns or prayers took place at the event ...."
~X'mas directive: Likely overzealous officers' fault

She pointed out that she had suggested that guests be entertained by carollers while waiting for the prime minister’s arrival as the latter’s schedule for the day had been packed.“
At no time did I instruct that carols should not be sung or that scriptures should not be read at the function. There was in fact a choral presentation and grace was said,” she said.
~PM’s aide says regrets Christmas ‘request’

"The programme... included a prayer, welcome message and scripture reading...
many carol hymns were sung," CCM Youth secretary Daniel Chai said in a statement.

Chai also expressed disappointment with church leaders for acting like "ostriches with their heads in the sand" for not taking an active role in clarifying the matter,
which has an impact on nation-building.

"It is not just this issue but a lot of other issues to do with social justice and nation-building which are related to the church. (Church leaders) should not be seen to be apathetic," he said.
~Hymns and prayers at archbishop's Christmas do

"As for the other directives, it is relevant to quote Rev Dr Shastri, general secretary of Council of Churches Malaysia as reported in the Sun on January 2.
He was reported as saying, “... no Christmas carols or prayers were sung and recited during the event and grace before meals were recited before Najib’s arrival.”
Referring to an African Christian group which performed a sequence of dances, Shastri poignantly added “it had no relation to the significance of Christmas."
~Two silences must be broken — Old Catholic

There has been much "debate" online with regard to the event which was hosted by Archbishop (don prey, prey - "TAN SRI", okay ...) Murphy Pakiam at St. John's Cathedral - okay, granted ... it was at his residence (... was it the parking lot? Never mind).
Many are criticising him for his elegant silence (ala Pak Lah/Rais Yatim/Najib) after the issue was highlighted in the media.
The person who responded was an aide from the PMO - a certain Hardev Kaur - denying that a directive was made.
So she suggested carols be sung "to entertain the guests",
and Daniel Chai said that "many carol hymns were sung".....
But Herman Shastri said, “... no Christmas carols or prayers were sung and recited during the event...."
Never mind that "carols were meant for entertainment" in Hardev's perspective- but the "elegant silence" of "Mr. 1-Malaysia" & Archbishop ("TAN SRI") Murphy Pakiam just isn't good for both parties, when people expect things to come from the "horses' mouth". The conflicting statements from Daniel & Herman gives room for the argument that somebody sure is spinning quite a yarn to protect "somebody" .... and is only making things worse.
(Even if the church pretends that it cannot get involved in politics- it surely must have been aware that the event being 'graced' by graceless VVIPs and all, sure is a socio-political event and not a religious one.
So it would be wise of the church to bear in mind that in politics, "perception is King").

As for me, I'm inclined to wonder if Herman Shastri was misquoted by the media, was mistaken- or possibly, even "smokin' something funny" in revelry at the event (and missed the "show"). ;-)

Anyways- upon inquiring further with a "certain insider" (from another parish), here's what I got (emphasis, mine) ....

"What happened at St John's?
There was a "party" where leaders both government and opposition were invited. It was also a party for foreign dignitaries. There are three components within the Christian Federation of Malaysia--Catholic Church, Council of Churches and NECF. And each component will take turns in hosting. This year just happens to be the Catholic Church.
The programme was scheduled to start at 3pm. The PM said that he would be late and that whatever that needed to be done, should be done first. And so, there was singing and prayers and when the PM came, all was already done. Remember that the party was not intended for the PM alone. Secondly, the locus of the party was the car park. And there was no need to hang crucifixes in a marquee.
How do we read this then?
In a sense, the AB did not comply because there was no reason to comply. What he did was to give the aide a piece of his mind.
What ought to be stressed is how the 1Malaysia government should be sending out such directives! It truly reflects badly on the government.
What has happened is that those braying for the blood of the AB can see nothing but compliance. And most of the arguments put forward have been nothing less of "ad hominem" arguments. He complied simply because he was beholden for his Tan Sri-ship.
I am not a fan of the AB, but still, one has to be fair in criticising."
"However, a matter crucial to the maturing of governance is the general election that is soon to come. Our concentration today is to ensure that no matter what--no matter how bad the situation may seem (since it's only the Government words we have), we should encourage people to vote alternative.
Thus far, for Malaysians in general especially in the consideration of "bread and butter" issues, the standard modus operandi has been:
Better the devil you know than the devil you don't.
And the devil you don't has proven itself to be really diabolical in its craving for power and of course stupidity.
We need to convince people that the devil we don't know, even (if we) know it is really crap, should be embraced, if only to send a message that our tolerance and acceptance of corrupt practices can only be stomached that much. And no more."

No comments:

Post a Comment

NOTE: We do not live in a Legal vacuum.
A pseudonym/ nickname with comments would be much appreciated.