First, there was the tsunami in 2004. It came with no warning, swallowing everything that came in its path. Hundreds of thousands were either missing or dead. Families of a few generations just perished in one day.
And just a few days back, the headline screamed of countless dead bodies and unaccounted missing people who were buried beneath the rubbles of collapsed buildings in Haiti during a recent earthquake.
I thank God that Malaysia is nowhere near any epicenter of earthquake, or sits in the volcano ring as in the Philipines. Natural disaster such as typhoon is never heard of although flood is pretty common in the East Coast and East Malaysia. I have always said that you can never really die out of hunger in Malaysia.
And yet, are we thankful for what we have in our country?
As George and I went for our walk one Sunday not too long ago, he pointed out things that I took for granted simply because I see them everyday. The amazing looking Petronas Twin Tower for instance. Or the world-class triple lane that led us to one of our trips out of the city. The various international-class cuisines which are readily available in about every corner of the city, the upmarket housing areas spread all over Klang Valley and all the latest cars and gadgets of every imaginable designs and colours one could imagine. Just one look at Plaza Low Yatt’s IT and mobile center in Bukit Bintang will make you think how sophisticated life is in Malaysia. A drive through Sri Hartamas, Taman Tun Dr Ismail or Bangsar will make you wonder how lucky Malaysians are that they are able to own properties worth millions of ringgit. Just check out the Mid Valley Megamall and you will wonder when does the Malaysians stop shopping?
Newspapers and various mediums of mass media thrive with what just reported that there are 6.2 millions of Malaysians are connected to Facebook. Just recently, Malaysia was also voted as one of the top 10 in the world for a country to retire, just falling short behind Singapore.
And yet, despite all of these, we whine and whine about how other countries have better benefits. Oh! How freedom of speech are better exercised. They sulked at the Government when ISA was not going to be abolished and when the recent religion turmoil cropped up recently, these were the same people who wanted to have ISA be used to control the crisis.
Part of my work involve in bridging the relationship between the organization that I work with and Government ministries and Government linked companies. My department is the main contact point for any information with regards to the related companies. In able for me to do an effective job, it is pertinent for me to understand the Government policies and how its machineries work. The more I study them, the more I am aware of how lucky I am to be here, in this very country, where although despite its flaws here and there, I can never die out of hunger, or needing to build underground shelters to avoid typhoons, or grief over missing family members after an earthquake.
As I drive out from my home and passing by the Pakcik who sells the nasi lemak, there is a long queue of people of various races waiting to buy from him. The buses are packful of commuters going to their work of place. Cruising the Jalan Parlimen, I can see the looming cityscape beyond the downhill drive. The roads are choke with vehicles of various makers. No fear of war, or bomber planes, no fear of lunatic, suicide bombers.
As I type this, the TV is on a live telecast (hosted by Dr Azhari Ismail and someone that I didnt get her name) of the happenings in Haiti. A few callers called in saying on how this happened because of God’s way of showing how “angry” He was with the kaffirs and He was showing his powers by killing these people.
I find this kind of thinking by Muslims very disturbing. How can God who is what we have been taught as compassionate be going on a punishing spree? Does that mean that the people of Acheh of which place are known as the “Anjung Mekah” have been mungkar bunch of people and God had punish them with the tsunami? Some were expressing their displeasure by the assistance that came from the Americans, Canadians, Australians and the French? Why are they so prejudiced against the humanitarian assistance from all these countries? When there are so many thousands die, these people are so busy “melaluk-laluk gila” (ranting).
Who are we to say that we are much better than these people? Isnt that “riak”, a trait that God says to stay away from?