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Show support for moderation

Translated by SOONG PHUI JEE
Sin Chew Daily

Yesterday was the Winter Solstice, a traditional festival celebrated by the Chinese. And we will celebrate Christmas the day after tomorrow. However, due to the recent extremism atmosphere in the country, together with the worsening split in Chinese education groups, it is believed that the mood of celebration has been affected. It is a mixed feeling and frustration. It can hardly feel the festive excitement and happiness when we are trapped in a dilemma.

Somewhat reassuring, the moderation movement initiated by 25 prominent Malays (G25) has caused a great resonance in the Chinese community. However, there is still much more work to do and a long way to go to make the movement being recognised by other races, and turn it into a social movement of all.

Meanwhile, it is ironical as when the Chinese community is making great efforts in promoting the moderation movement, it splits at the same time into the "support Yap and Chow" and "anti Yap and Chow" factions, following the split of United Chinese School Committees Association (Dong Zong). The disputes over whether SM Chong Hwa Kuantan should be considered a Chinese independent school, and whether its students should be allowed to sit for the Unified Examination Certificate (UEC), have led to the outbreak of the Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) crisis that resulted in split, and eventually an infighting.

So far, the Chinese community infighting has not only shown no sign of reconciliation, but it has been intensified instead, and even fallen into the quagmire of either black or white. The "anti Yap and Chow" faction has been labelled as traitors; while the "support Yap and Chow" faction is called anti-democratic old fogies. Meanwhile, those wishing to become neutral peacemakers are ridiculed as fence sitters without principle and stand. It seems that the scene of a harmonious and united Chinese education team that surpassed politics and political parties has forever gone.

If the Chinese community really supports moderation and hates extremism, then how could the Chinese education groups, which are seen as the last line of defence defending the interests of Chinese community turn fragmented, be engaged in never ending war of words and totally forget about moderation, taking only their ways towards extremism and wishing only to defeat each other? They are calling for moderation but making no good example themselves. How could they be respected and convincing?

Chinese families eat tangyuan (glutinous rice balls) on Winter Solstice, carrying the meanings of "reunion" and "perfection". It is a symbol of family harmony and good luck. When could the highly anticipated Chinese education groups abandon disputes and reunion?

Christmas is approaching. It is also an ancient festival and similar to Winter Solstice, it carries the positive meaning of strengthening relationships among family members, friends and colleagues, while promoting social unity, harmony, friendliness, as well as mutual love and care. Even for non-Christians, they can still feel such kind of indiscriminate love through romantic and warm Christmas songs. Hopefully, our leaders, including leaders of Chinese education groups, of course, can start from themselves and implement the traditional virtues in this traditional festival to create a society of moderation, generosity, mutual respect and mutual love. I believe that it is the Christmas present most looking forward by all Malaysians.

We are going to step into 2015 a few days later. I hope that it is going to be the year of moderation, a year of letting extremism leave, disputes cease and the seeds of peace spread!


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