Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Economic woes and the fight against injustice

Despair looms as New Year begins

It was an emotional and touching sermon at mass last Sunday as the priest touched on the prevailing deplorable political situation in the country. The ongoing kangkung controversy might have a started as a joke but is something not to be laughed at and ridiculed as serious issues lie masked behind it.
The main among them is the escalating cost of living due to rising price of almost everything. The year 2014 is going to be very difficult one for the ordinary man on the street, especially those earning less than RM2,000 a month. How is he going to feed his family? How is going to pay for shelter over his head? How is going to pay for the school expenses for his children? How is going to find money to pay for the medical emergencies in the family? These are some of the doubts that are causing great anxiety and fear among many Malaysians who are struggling to make ends meet. To make matters worse we are told that that some of those receiving monthly aid from the Welfare department are denied such aid for no genuine reason. How are they going to survive?
With every passing day the present government seems to be increasingly proving to be totally incapable of managing the national wealth and economy of the country. It is not capable of putting an end to the massive corruption that is draining away the people’s hard earned money, resulting in the need to increase the price of almost every commodity, including the basic fundamental needs of the rakyat. Where are the people going to find the money to support their basic needs when the bulk of the wealth is being siphoned away in the name development?
As expected the kangkung issue has now been successfully manipulated to become a racial one by the politicians at the expense of the well being of the people. Instead of finding ways to overcome the economic problems facing the nation we are now taken into another confrontation of the races in the country, when the Allah issue is yet to be solved. The government and its proxies are bent on just uniting the Malays and Muslims to gian the support suppress the minorities whom they see as anti-government and a threat to their continued hold onto power. They are prepared to resort to any means, including the misuse of the various institutions, to do that which is indeed frightening. Where are all these leading us and our nation?
A feeing of hopeless has set in and the people are angry and want to act but not sure how to do so. What we fear most is that the people will being pushed against the wall may resort to violence that would be detrimental to all.
As Christians there no doubts that we must stand against injustice. We cannot be passive and ignore all the injustice around us. The question is what can we do when all the institutions are lopsided and refuse to see our plight which is legal and justified. Our fight against injustice we must go on but must be based on the teachings of Jesus – humility, love and forgiveness. There is no place for revenge, anger and pride in our struggles. Truth must be defended however bitter it may even if it is against us as it will finally prevail.
Amidst these economic and political uncertainties, we are told in a neighboring parish, there are plans for raising funds to build a multi-million ringgit Pastoral Centre. It is ironical that instead of finding ways to alleviate the financial burden of the people, the church in embarking on projects to cause more difficulties for them. It is an indication of a total lack of sensitivity for the plight of the poor.
We have just to look around and the plight of suffering people will be glaring at us. Instead of spending money on buildings, this is the time to start a fund to help the poor out of their financial crisis. For a start we begin by helping those in our parish who we know well.
We have the means, the resources and the talent to set up such a skillful team at parish and diocese levels. What we need is a will and commitment in our hearts which is sadly lacking. We are repeatedly told to donate generously to build churches and pastoral centers for God but we forget that God does not need buildings but our hearts to dwell. In the building of God’s Kingdom, it is God who takes care of our needs not we who take care of His.

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