The Ramadhan Challenge - Day 15

Warning: today’s post is going to be SERIOUS and RANTY.

Generally I try to avoid content that is negative or too whiny on this blog. I believe that there’s enough shit going on in our lives and all need that space where we can get away from all our worries, and that’s what I aim to achieve on my blog. I may not be the most engaging writer and my warped sense of humor is usually lost on most people but I try to make each of my post as entertaining or positive as I can.

But recent events in Malaysia has made me worry for the future of this country. Living abroad for the past 7 years has really desensitized me to the political racism that was instilled by selfish individuals. I remember before coming back to Malaysia how all my friends were warning me to stay in Melbourne. They assured me that life as an Australian would be much more promising and the situation in Malaysia would only get worse. But I returned anyway because I wanted to be closer to my family. Because this is home and no matter how shitty it is I was determined to make it work.

It’s barely been six months since I came back and I have not regretted my decision one bit. But I won’t lie it wasn’t easy adjusting to my new life. 7 years is a long time to be away and everyday is a rediscovery of a land I once knew. I continue to experience culture shock everyday. It distresses me to see how jaded and cynical Malaysians have become. And in light of recent events I’m beginning to understand why. The level of mistrust and contempt we have against one another is so bad that people are jumping at opportunity to stoke the flames of racism. Children have being made to eat in unhygienic places but people are too busy playing the racial card and hurling political mud. Two fame-mongers in a desperate attempt to milk their last few minutes of fame defiled the country’s dominant religious beliefs and now their entire community is faced with the blame. 

Heck just browse the comments section of any news site or forums. Keyboard warriors are constantly on the prowl, ready to stir up racial and political controversy. Religious zealots feel the right to encroach on our freedom of speech and freedom to not give a fuck. It’s like people want to go to war, and at the rate that this is going they might just get one. 

How far we have fallen. What have we let ourselves become? And to top it all of these things are happening during the month of Ramadhan which is suppose to be holy month. A peaceful month…

Which brings me to whole point of this post. By sheer luck or fate I discovered a curious little page on Facebook today called: Projek Dialog which is an initiative started to foster dialogue and mutual understanding between Malaysians. They’ve actually started a little movement called Fast For Malaysia, basically urging non-Muslims to join in a nationwide fasting challenge as a gesture of goodwill. In fact I’ve even posted up a video of one of the participants who took up the challenge on my blog a few days ago.

And since I’m already halfway through my Ramadhan challenge anyway I might as well lend my efforts for a better cause. To be honest I’m a bit uncomfortable airing my views on social and political issues. Maybe it’s due to my journalism ethics or maybe it’s because my fasting is a personal choice and has nothing to do with religion or race. But I figure something needs to change. We need to change. We’ve got to stop hiding behind our keyboards and handphones complaining and fighting a war of words with fellow Malaysians. We need to grow up and realise that the fate of this country lies in our hands and if we fail it’s our own damn fault and no one else’s.

So join me if you wish for the nationwide fasting this coming 31 July 2013. Even if you can’t participate let your family and friends know about this event. If you can post about people fighting over fast food plastic toys and some strangers’ baby’s name then I’m sure you do this small gesture and re-post about my effort to make Malaysia a more peaceful place to live in.

You can find out more info on Fast For Malaysia on their Facebook page or their Tumblr blog. Please reblog, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram about this event as much as you can. Don’t forget to insert the hashtag #Fast4Malaysia.

Peace y’all,

Brendon