Monday, 26 November 2012

Battling the Demons of Enmity

In many countries the world over, there are terrible wars, tearing societies, communities, families and individuals apart. There are so many, yet we often only react to those that attract the most publicity. I needn't mention these, as all who watch or read the news bulletins everyday, are aware of them. It is natural to have a reaction on seeing or hearing such painful news of inhumanity committed against other human beings. Intra-familial wars are actually worse than being attacked by some outside aggressor, a common enemy. The enemy within is harder to eliminate.
In everyday life, there is a demon that can emerge out of our sub-conscious, it is the demon of prejudice, bigotry, generalization and stereotyping. It usually waits for an opportune moment to seize possession of us, suppressing our normal gentle, kind, forgiving and loving natures. When this happens, we can become raving, blood-thirsty lunatics who are capable of doing things we will most definitely regret, when the madness subsides.

If the madness is rationalized and justified, it continues and progressively erodes our humanity, turning the once gentle, humane person into an inhuman abomination, capable of anything.
Why do people run 'amok'? Why does the killing continue? It spares none.
Yet, those delusioned by the madness might still smile the smiles of hatred and glory in the blood they have spilt.

Here at home, in Malaysia, where racial and religious politics are the occupation of many of our politicians, especially those still hogging the reins of power, the common people are realizing the futility of in-fighting and the creation of division and disunity. People are trying to unify, trying to find common platforms and causes that counteract, the divide-and -rule system of governance that is our colonial legacy. This method of governance was adopted by the subsequent leaders of our 'independent' nation eversince we divested ourselves of colonial rule.
In truth, we have not really eliminated a neo-colonial structure. The same arrogance prevails, but by a different group of bureaucrats. Now, it is for us the common people to battle the demons as those who assume rule of this place have succumbed to their self-interests and given the demons full sway over themselves.

To help build this fortress of peace and unity we come together to talk honestly without antagonism, to forgive and heal the rifts that have frequently driven us apart in animosity and enmity. We dialog with one aim - to be united in our diversity. A family of a nation, accepting each other and being part of the spectrum of the cultural rainbow that makes up our unique Malaysian world.

If you would like to participate in this effort to build our rainbow, use this link to see how you can do it -
"Project Dialogue" is a project under the "Say NO to Racism Campaign" in Malaysia. Use the link to find out more about it.

You may find something you never thought was possible.

May the Light overcome the Darkness, and all demons be vanquished.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Celebrating the Light

Today is the eve of a very important festival for our Hindu friends, it is the day before Dwali (as some call it) or Deepavali ( as others in Malaysia, call it). Dwali is known as the Festival of Light, a triumph of Light over Darkness. I read the legend once, that was a long time ago. But, will tell it to you when my memory is refreshed. The story is about the battle between  Good and Evil, where Evil is defeated and Good illuminates the world.

This is a Holy Day for Hindus (Hindoos) and many significant cleansing rituals are carried out. It is symbolic of repentence, renewal and rebirth.
In Malaysia, despite the many controversies prevalent in our pluralist society at the moment, it is customary to give a greeting of "Happy Deepavali" to almost anyone, not just the Hindus celebrating this special religious celebration. It is a friendly gesture, one that recognizes the importance of the day and the shared universal belief that Good will ultimately be victorious. That is what, most of humankind believes and aspires to. Whilst, this is still in the realms of an ideal within our minds and hearts, unimaginable to some in reality. Yet, the possibility raises hope of peace in our embattled circumstances.

Although it seems easy to revel in goodwill, it is far harder to recognize that the hardships arising from conflict situations at home and around the world are also situations we share, and indirectly or inadvertently, contribute to, in some ways. This brings to mind  Barack Obama's presidential election victory. It is a first in history which was celebrated, not only by Democrat supporters of the United States, but joined in by peoples in Africa and Asia. His first presidential victory celebration was even more widespread.

To think that a single person is capable of uniting so many nations in one event, due to his variegated past is rather astounding. He is an international icon, not just small town US, or Afro-American minority.

It feels like the world is on the threshold of a new era, the era of 'internationality', where perhaps we will realize the dream of  being  world citizens, besides identifying ourselves as belonging to the subsets of citizenship i.e. of a nation, by ethnic, religious or cultural communities, language, or skin colour.

If this ever happens, the peoples of the world will find their own roles in combating the evils t overrunning our lives today, that will continue to enslave a majority of us till the end of time.

With this I wish all the world, a "Happy Dwali" and may Good be ever victorious, within ourselves and beyond ourselves.

Deepavali Eve 12th November 2012

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Apologies from this Rookie Blogger

Dear Readers,

I didn't realize that posting comments on this blog was a big problem, due to its being restricted to certain providers. I only became aware of it today when I spoke to my blogger friend Anil Netto. He's helped me to put posts on Wordpress instead, so comments can be more easily posted by any reader who has one.
I AM SO, SO, SORRY for preventing you from free speech. To make up for it, all previous posts have been exported to my Wordpress blog at My blog is still called, "Winking at Life" and I will continue 'winking' at you there, so you can 'wink' back.
Thanks so much for reading my blog and listening to my 'e-soap box' speeches. So, forward we go. Hopefully, see your comments soon, at Wordpress.

My Wordpress blog is still in process, as I need to familiarize myself with it. It is a little more complicated but will enable comment from readers more easily. So, in the meantime, I'm keeping this blog, that is relatively user friendly and less complicated. You may visit me at my new blogsite and try the comment facility, out of curiousity. Looking forward to talking to you in another room.

Wishing you a good day,

Jasmine Tea

20th December 2012

Dear Readers,

I informed you in the earlier post that I had opened another "Winking at Life" blog in Wordpress. To diffuse confusion, the URL of my current blog is "Winking at Life" at I decided to try 'renting a house' metaphorically, so have to do my own housekeeping at my dot com address. Visitors are definitely welcome! So, do continue to enjoy reading my posts. 

For those who prefer to come to this "Winking at Life" URL, I will still be posting my thoughts for your reading pleasure from time to time. 

Have a good day and may you always be blessed with peace of mind. 


Jasmine Tea

Sunday, 4 November 2012

A Leaky Tub in the Ocean

The world is like a leaky tub in the ocean. Here we are undergoing climate change that's punching holes in our planet, yet human kind is aiding its sinking by creating conflict on the lamest excuse. Those trying to repair the leaks can't keep up with the rate at which these are being created. It looks like the negative elements are getting the better of us and taking the upper-hand. Samuel Huntingdon's proverbial "clash of civilizations" seems to be the thing influencing certain minorities who seem intent on making that premise a reality.

World media attention gives world wide publicity to these negatively distructive minorities on both sides of the civilizational clash, just to sell these 'toxic products' to 'children' who very often believe anything and everything they read or see, and react in an equally juvenile manner, without question. Advantage is also taken of the situation by any seeking 'cheap' publicity to feel elevated above the generally silent population.

Let's not get wrong and right confused. Every religion ( for want of a better word) preaches peace, justice, charity and goodwill. That's a universal truth. Even an aetheistic subtraction of God doesn't change what is perceived as good. Moral codes and laws overlap to maintain a civilized order in every country in the world, whether they prevail or otherwise, is another matter. Yet, big words and well intentioned edicts don't change reality.

Still, when it comes to the crunch, people instinctively revert to viewing themselves as members of the human race. At least, that's what generally occurs in times of disaster in various parts of the world. So, why do we maintain conflict in times of relative peace and prosperity, as if we have nothing else to do, but pick a fight with anyone and everyone?

In personal experience there are small victories in over-coming racial, religious and class barriers that give an insight into the possibilities of a completely different world from the current one. These little sparks of goodness, hopefully will some day become the order of the day. But it needs more participation, and more personal victories over personal barriers that end in defeat, contributing to the general on-going personal wars.

A few years ago, my father under went an operation. Dad is over eighty (nearer to ninety) and his chances of survival were at first 50:50 but fell during the operation due to his heart rate being very low, affecting his blood pressure. In this crisis situation, friends and family came together.

Friends from all faiths, ethnic and cultural backgrounds sympathized with us in this crisis, and petitioned God ( in their own ways). What doctrine or beliefs they subscribed to was totally immaterial. A miracle did happen, and Dad miraculously survived this major operation, and is still around today, despite having to use a wheelchair to be mobile.

After Dad was discharged from the hospital, Mum and I would have been completely sunk in looking after him as my siblings returned to their homes in the southern state of Selangor, and overseas to Europe, due to work, family etc.

The multi-national 'aid army' was sent out again and this time we had Christian and Buddhist help, bringing in nursing care for Dad. Not a penny was asked for it, just love and care, in exchange. We've been truly privileged to be looked after by a peoples' multi-national force, in the persons of friends and relatives regardless of our different views, attitudes and beliefs.This is not the first nor, I believe, will it be the last such experience, as the world gets smaller.  

Amazing presents some times come wrapped in ordinary newspaper. Perhaps, we, ordinary folk with no claims or pretensions to vast empires, elite status, or celebrity, but who out number those with such claims, can make a bigger difference to this culture of conflict that has been imposed on us by recognizing that we all bleed in red.

Maybe, by doing this, we can work to patch up the leaks that keep springing in our drifting tub on these rough seas. Rub-a-dub-dub!