Articles, Opinions & Views: Drawing a line in the sand between state and religion - By Commander (Rtd) S THAYAPARAN Royal Malaysian Navy
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In A Foxhole
“When you're left wounded on

Afganistan's plains and

the women come out to cut up what remains,

Just roll to your rifle

and blow out your brains,

And go to your God like a soldier”

“We are not retreating. We are advancing in another direction.”

“It is fatal to enter any war without the will to win it.”

“Old soldiers never die; they just fade away.

“The soldier, above all other people, prays for peace,

for he must suffer and be the deepest wounds and scars of war.”

“May God have mercy upon my enemies, because I won't .”
“The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his.

“Nobody ever defended anything successfully, there is only attack and attack and attack some more.

“Fixed fortifications are a monument to the stupidity of man."
“It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died.
Rather we should thank God that such men lived.

The Soldier stood and faced God


Which must always come to pass

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He hoped his shoes were shining

Just as bright as his brass

"Step forward you Soldier,

How shall I deal with you?


Have you always turned the other cheek?


To My Church have you been true?"


"No, Lord, I guess I ain't


Because those of us who carry guns


Can't always be a saint."

I've had to work on Sundays

And at times my talk was tough,

And sometimes I've been violent,

Because the world is awfully rough.

But, I never took a penny

That wasn't mine to keep.

Though I worked a lot of overtime

When the bills got just too steep,

The Soldier squared his shoulders and said

And I never passed a cry for help

Though at times I shook with fear,

And sometimes, God forgive me,

I've wept unmanly tears.

I know I don't deserve a place

Among the people here.

They never wanted me around


Except to calm their fears.


If you've a place for me here,


Lord, It needn't be so grand,


I never expected or had too much,


But if you don't, I'll understand."

There was silence all around the throne

Where the saints had often trod

As the Soldier waited quietly,

For the judgment of his God.

"Step forward now, you Soldier,

You've borne your burden well.

Walk peacefully on Heaven's streets,

You've done your time in Hell."

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Drawing a line in the sand between state and religion - By Commander (Rtd) S THAYAPARAN Royal Malaysian Navy
Wednesday, November 08, 2017
Malaysiakini : “Prejudice, a dirty word, and faith, a clean one, have something in common: they both begin where reason ends.” ―  Harper Lee, ‘Go Set a Watchman’
Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's.
COMMENT | In a recent speech, MCA president Liow Tiong Lai called on the Chinese community to vote MCA as a counter balance to the theocratic impulses of PAS. He reminded the Chinese community of the secular nature of our system and warned that nobody should impose their religious teachings on others.
This, of course, is complete horse manure because as “Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki reminds us, BN - not Umno but BN - is committed to make Malaysia an Islamic state...”.
What politicians who actually believe in a secular state, as opposed to politicians who believe that Malaysia is a secular state, should advocate is that religion should not be imposed on anyone. Consider also the mendacity of PAS which claims that it will not work with Pakatan Harapan because of the chauvinistic nature of the DAP, but they will work with Umno even though we have the leader of the MCA claiming that it is against the theocratic state of PAS and that Malaysia is a secular country.
The two recent religious and social flashpoints - the Better Beer festival and the Muslim-only laundrette - were not resolved but merely swept under the carpet. The former with the use of a national security threat and the other by royal decree. Neither of which satisfies even the most basic tenets of a “secular” state or even a democratic one.

Meanwhile, the opposition makes the same claim. They believe they should get the non-Malay vote to ensure that there is a line in the sand between mosque and state. This, of course, is complete horse manure too.
Whenever there is a major issue when it comes to the state religion, it becomes a contest as to who represents the interests of the majority better. Non-Muslim allies are complicit in these sectarian conflicts because they do not want to rock the boat they believe would lead them to the shores of Putrajaya.
We are often told that in Harapan, the component parties are equal partners. But can anyone ever be an equal partner with any political party that defends ‘bangsa’ (race) and ‘agama’ (religion)? In other words, can anyone ever be an equal partner with proponents of a state religion, especially if the parties involved come from different religions?
When it comes to the issue of Oktoberfest for instance, the Penang chief minister claims that Penang is not a Taliban state because unlike Selangor and Kuala Lumpur, the festival was not banned. Does this make Selangor a Taliban state because the extremists got their way? Moreover, if so, what does it say about equal partnership in Harapan when it is the opposition that controls Selangor?
As long as the ethnic numbers hold, balkanisation could be a possibility, I suppose. “Depending on your point of view, the balkanisation of Malaysia is something that is a very real possibility because of this agenda of turning Malaysia into an ‘Islamic’ state. This is not something that any rational person would want and I am including the Malays in this equation, because if they really wanted to live in an Islamic paradise, they would have voted for PAS a long time ago.”
I mean, some folks already look to Johor as a haven from the racial and religious bigotry that dominates the Federation. In case you were wondering, this is not a good thing but just another data point as to how toxic the political climate is in this country.
Two scenarios
When the current Umno president makes the claim that Chinese representation in government means that the Chinese have a voice, how useful is that voice? Does this mean anything when there has been a process of Islamisation that over the decades Chinese representation could not counter? Similarly, does this idea of equal partnership in Harapan really translate to having a voice against the Islamisation process that the Malay establishment power brokers will not abandon?

I have been going over the work of Lim Teck Ghee (photo) in preparation for the launch of his book that Malaysiakini contributor Steve Oh reviewed yesterday. Lim is the kind of academic that does not make pronouncements from an ivory tower. He understands the concerns of the average citizen - not average urban citizens, well them too - but more importantly, the rural communities who endure the most of establishment politics.
A couple of years ago, he ended his prophetic piece - Can Malaysia step back from the brink? -  with, “The momentum of continued political bickering and ethnic and religious discord if not broken - especially against a backdrop of economic stagnation - could set the stage for the next momentous development in the country’s evolution: either a dramatic break with the past through deep reforms - this appears a distinctly unlikely possibility; a sharper turn towards an Islamic conservative future; or a retreat to emergency rule in which Umno-led right-wingers, and other powerful stake players including the monarchy tied to maintaining an authoritarian ethnocracy, make a bid for, and successfully seize power.”
In the last two scenarios in Lim’s piece, Islam is the glue that binds whatever permutation of the hegemon that emerges out of the political and cultural conflict that Malaysia is heading into in this upcoming general election. The choice is simple. Either we have deep reforms and parties committed to such reforms or we carry on the way we are and we eventually become an Islamic state envisioned by the likes of the extremists embedded in the establishment.
People who do not buy into this strategy of appeasement for the sake of votes keep asking me, what we as non-Muslims can do? I have no idea but I ask them in return, if the opposition draws that line in the sand against mosque and state and loses the election, would that place us non-Muslims in a better position?
All I know is, something dark this way comes.
posted by D.Swami Gwekanandam @ 3:05 PM  
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