Perlis Mufti Juanda Jaya and his fatwa committee decided that their state should opt out of the nationwide one-minute silence yesterday for victims of MH17.
They were concerned that the Day of Mourning was contrary to a 1987 national, and a 1974 Perlis, fatwa. See scan of memo issued by Perlis deputy mufti Roslan Esa – below.
Although I’m not Muslim, the same thought did cross my mind nevertheless as to whether the planned MH17 ceremony/event was Islamic. I had earlier asked my Malay friend about this even before chancing to read a news report just now about Perlis’ non-participation.
Isn’t the observation of formal silence something imported from the Western-Christian tradition? I’m reminded of Dyana Sofya Samad lighting candles during vigils and Marina Mahathir going to church to give flowers to pastors.
Nampak terbawa sangat fesyen Barat
There are some things that Christians do which Muslims aren’t allowed or encouraged to.
You can see (click to view), pop idol Justin Bieber sporting a host of Christian-themed tattoos which include:
- the cross on his chest
- “Yeshua” (Jesus) in Hebrew characters on his right ribcage
- portrait of Jesus on his left calf
- Greek alphabet ‘chi’ – an abbreviation for Christ – on his left arm
- the word “Believe” on his inner left arm
- hands clasped in prayer on his left leg
- winged angel on his left arm
- ‘crucified Earth wrapped in a crown of thorns and dripping blood’ on the inside of his left wrist
Since Malaysian Muslims are increasingly terikut-ikut the Malay liberals like Marina and Dyana, I wouldn’t be surprised if one day some Malay Muslims were to think ‘Allah’ or ‘Prophet Mohammad’ tattoos are alright too.
Bodies of Lahad Datu soldiers delivered in trucks
The 17 coffins and three urns containing the MH17 victims’ remains were yesterday given “full military honours” – see story headlines below – upon touchdown at KLIA in a parade of identical hearses and escorted by police outriders.
Retired admiral Imran Abdul Hamid highlighted the fact that the soldiers who lost their lives in Lahad Datu were not accorded the same treatment. Neither was the Jalur Gemilang flown at half mast for those from the army and police who had died during Operasi Daulat bravely defending our tanahair.
Admiral Imran (Rtd) has a valid point in saying that the MH17 mourning event was all too “excessive” as well as to ask why things were “carried out to that extent”. It was Malaysia’s first time ever that such military honours were bestowed on civilians, he explained.
BELOW: In the J-Star Online, saturation coverage
Civilians must be differentiated from soldiers
The aircrash victims were returned to Malaysia 37 days after the MAS aircraft was shot down on 17 July.
Their coffins and urns were draped in the Malaysian flag, and the pallbearers were the Tentera Di-Raja Malaysia. This respect is usually granted fallen soldiers who had sacrificed their lives in the line of duty, or for a deceased Prime Minister (e.g. Tun Razak who had passed away in London).
Please remember that soldiers salute the flag and invest a deep meaning in the Jalur Gemilang which might be lost on us civilians, especially some whom deliberately turn the flag upside down in political protest.
To those who serve in the army, the flag is a potent symbol. It signifies protecting God, King and Country – a cause for which they must be willing to lay down their lives at any given moment. Whereas for us, how many are willing to fly it for even just one day on Aug 31 or Sept 16?
Price of patriotism, they pay
Granting full military honours, including the flag, to victims of an air crash crosses the protocol divide. I agree with the esteemed Admiral (R) that these honours should be reserved for and restricted to members of our armed forces in recognition of their great and incomparable patriotism.
When a man volunteers for the uniformed services, it is with a poignant awareness that his wife and children may be suddenly widowed and orphaned. On the other hand, when somebody buys a plane ticket to travel to his business or holiday destination, I doubt that such a consideration weighs as heavily on him.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not against the government organizing some kind of high profile memorial service for the MH17 victims or if religious authorities such as Jakim and other agencies are involved in conducting the remembrance service.
But nonetheless, I still feel that our perajurit negara should not have been conscripted to take part in yesterday’s ceremony because the MH17 crew and passengers were not their comrades in arms.
The same for ferry and bus accident victims?
MAS Boeings are a form of air transportation. Ships and ferries are sea transportation while buses are land transportation.
Would Putrajaya accord the same if Malaysians drowned in a ferry sinking and are recovered from the territorial waters of Indonesia or Singapore?
When the Butterworth Penang jetty collapsed in 1988, a massive total of 1,634 people were injured and another 32 people died.
And not too long ago on 21 Aug 2013, a bus plunged into a deep ravine off the Genting Highlands road, killing 37 passengers and injuring a further 16.
Previously on 11 Dec 1993, the Highland Towers condominiums toppled in the blink of an eye. The tragedy claimed 48 lives, including that of Musa Hitam’s young son and the latter’s wife.
But as Admiral Imran (Rtd) noted, yesterday’s MH17 event was a first where full military honours were bestowed – on air travellers who perished in an aviation accident.
Public show of national collective grief
Najib Razak said that the ceremony honouring victims of MH17 had succeeded in uniting Malaysians. He also claimed that “the tragic incident had strengthened the spirit of brotherhood, and it is up to us to look at the blessings brought by the tragedy” — see report in The Sun Daily (above).
Needless to say, like the DAP and PKR and PAS, we are all free to “agree to disagree”.
The government has already spent billions of ringgit on the Rakan Muda as well as Latihan Khidmat Negara programmes over the past years in order to “unite” Malaysians. This is just my personal opinion but the elusive “national unity” we’re chasing is way overrated, don’t you think?
Click to enlarge
Camera, camera everywhere
Sensational blow-by-blow, minute-by-minute coverage by The J-Star since the day before yesterday, and then yesterday and followed up today, of the MH17-Mourning process can be likened to a reality TV show being streamed live, for example Big Brother where the omnipresent camera spies and pries into people’s private moments.
In other words, it is intrusive if not disorientating for the bereaved family at their most vulnerable – and whose privacy ought better to be respected – to be made into media fodder.
BELOW: All in a day’s work for the Yang Berhormat
Some people get their kicks from attending funerals (6 Nov 2013 tweet) … it does “something good to [their] souls” and the more funerals, the gooder
It seems Hannah Yeoh got the opportunity to attend one MH17 funeral this week.
Death brings us together, the politicians say
In the Instagram above, Hannah Yeoh is smiling for the camera over her rodent catch. Her rat-catching programme follows on the heels of her earlier MH17 funeral and “imagining their pain. Heartbreaking“.
To become a successful politician, you need to be able to UBAH at the flip of the switch, from one itinerary to the next in your jam-packed schedule. One minute you’re attending a sad, “heartbreaking” function, and the next you’re hunting rats.
It is also similarly “sad” if not shallow of the PM to look to such “tragic incidents” to “strengthen the spirit of brotherhood” among the citizens of Malaysia.
An “accident” is after all something unplanned and sometimes beyond our control. Putrajaya should instead put on its thinking cap to figure out what pre-planned programme – and one within its logistical control – that the government can conduct for the purpose of “strengthening the spirit of brotherhood”.
And please don’t wait till people are dead (too late) before you think of showing appreciation to them, okay. An 88-year-old Dr Mahathir flew to Lahad Datu camp to rally the troops at the height of Ops Daulat – that’s why, I’m guessing, some people describe the Tun as a statesman.
Brothers in arms
As for the “blessings brought by the tragedy”, what we’ve witnessed thus far is the Kelana Jaya evangelista MP complaining that there were not enough chairs at the KLIA’s Kompleks Bunga Raya for the Yang Berhormats to sit during the reception of the bodies.
And of course, the hypocrite evangelista Adun was tweeting yet again yesterday about her heart breaking over MH17.
Now Hannah Yeoh’s heart is really an amazing and most resilient organ. It “breaks” – so very easily – over this, that and the other (e.g. for dunno who “dead children” dunno where) but then the broken pieces will quickly mend and reassemble so as to be ready to break again for another Twitter-Kodak moment.
I’m not sure what a politician tweeting about her own broken heart is seeking to convey when young children have lost their father or mother, and elderly parents have lost their son or daughter.
Maybe it’s just me but I feel that a little bit more decorum and reticence yesterday – no need to Facebook about there being not enough chairs for the YBs – on the part of the politicians would not have been amiss.
Updated: 9.45am, 4 Sept 2014