Recently I attended a Sunday mass in Bahasa Malaysia(BM) in a slot which used to be usually scheduled for English. At the mass we were told that in future there will be BM mass every month. The reason given was that by not using BM we are distancing ourselves from the mainstream of national development. According to the priest the use of BM in mass will go a long way towards national integration which I doubt very much.
More than 50% of the congregation consisted of older parishioners, with a large proportion belonging to the senior citizen group. Being a senior citizen, like many others, was upset with the change of the regular Sunday mass from English to BM. This is not because I don’t love the national language or the country but because I am so used to English in mass and BM did not bring out the same sanctity as English. I was also disturbed at the repeated use of the word “Allah” at mass which I feel was unwarranted and artificial. In fact am more comfortable using the word Tuhan than Allah as the former was more meaningful to me, being brought up to think and speak in English.
I do not think we are ready for the switch as we all still think and converse in English not BM. Why deny our rights to worship just because you want to change more for of political reasons than spiritual sanctity. Change to BM may be inevitable in the long run with the younger generation but why the rush to do so?
The intension of the church may be noble in wanting to integrate itself with the national aspirations of the people by using BM but must it do it at the displeasure of its older congregation? To me our younger generation is being left out of national development not because the church is not using BM in its services but more so due to the failed education system that intentionally isolated our children from the very beginning for political reasons. Many of our children today can hardly converse well in BM, let alone getting integrated into national development.
By converting to BM in our Sunday services, we are just kidding ourselves into thinking that we will be acceptable in the mainstream of national development. We need more humane leaders with greater wisdom, goodwill and tolerance to accept everyone as equal citizens regardless of race and creed and it needs much more than using BM in our services.