Nukilan Khairul Faizi bin Ahmad Kamil | 9/13/2007 01:28:00 PM | 0 Pandangan »

The PAS's Moon Cake
Updated:2007-09-11 16:53:23 MYT

On 11 September, PAS launched its Chinese website 《人民時事》Berita Rakyat Semasa , together with its moon cake and DVD distribution campaigns in a bid to woo the Kelantan Chinese community.
911 shocked the world six years ago. PAS chose the anniversary as a re-branding exercise for the up-coming general elections. Obviously, it has targeted the Chinese community this time.
The Moon Cake Festival is one of the Chinese traditional festivals but its cultural significance is largely forgotten. Some Chinese would even take part in the annual Bon Odori (Japanese Ghost Festival) celebration and others would not even frown on them..
The intention of PAS to introduce moon cakes is to tell the Chinese community that it is not a narrow-minded Islamic party or an extreme party that excludes festivals of other cultures.
Although the moon cake is typically Chinese, it is also enjoyed by others. Likewise, the nasi lemak and roti canai are also enjoyed by all races. As pointed out by the Ministry of Tourism, this culinary trait speaks well of us as a multi-cultural country.
What more, when moon cakes now even come with halal certification.Although PAS's moon cake distribution is linked to its political agenda, it is nonetheless a good gesture although they can't expect the Chinese community to throw in their lot with PAS just because of these moon cakes.
The key of harmony in a multi-ethnic country is mutual understanding and respect regardless of the numerical strength of each community. One must not force others to obey or to resolve sensitive issues autocratically as the consequences can be less than desirable.
It is sad that after 50 years of independence, we still view each other with suspicion.The main problem for PAS to convince the Chinese community is to accept its notion of an Islamic state.
The Federal Constitution does not clearly state that Malaysia is an Islamic country. However, moves to make it one through executive and administrative measures bother the Chinese community.
The students’ dress code of the Universiti kebangsaan Malaysia is a case in point. Although PAS has been the ruling party in Kelantan for 17 years, and it was one of the component parties of the ruling Barisan coalition in 1970s, it is still not able to gain support from the Chinese community.
I am afraid that the only way for PAS to do so is to abandon the concept of Islamic state.The Chinese community wants to separate religion from politics.
The moon cakes of PAS are very much welcomed but if it does not fit the gesture may not be meaningful.
The clash between the Police and PAS supporters last Saturday (8 Sept) is a reminder that things may go wrong.
Even though the talk was jointly organised by the “Coalition for Clean and Fair Election”, the fingers are pointed to PAS as it is the leader of the coalition.PAS has introduced new measures to approach the Chinese community.
However, it should not be doing so just for the election as the Mooncake Festival doesn't mean only to eat moon cakes and carry lanterns.
Rather, its emphasis is on unity in which people of different races can celebrate the festival together and the culture, religion and customs of different ethnic groups could be protected and be fairly treated.
(By Low Yak Buang, Sin Chew Daily)
(The opinions expressed by the writer do not necessarily reflect those of Sinchew-i )

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