Friday, July 11, 2008

Can We Love Our Political Rivals?- Malaysiakini

The question of the day is not who among Anwar, Najib and Badawi will be the best leader for Malaysia as raised in a Malaysiakini letter. Rather, the crucial question today is the quality of intellectual ideas that we raise in the public forum of Parliament, media and blogosphere.
Malaysia's future as a fledgling democracy depends very much on the civility of its politicans, bloggers and citizens in discussing the political differences and resolving the conflicts of interests among its people.

What I refer as civility goes beyond having good manners. Civility means to have the goodwill in accepting other people's differences in opinion/values while at the same time, affirming your strongly-held values. In other words, our ability to agree to disagree in a civilised manner is the mark of a civil, democratic society.

Which is why the ideas presented by Dr Os Guinness in his latest book: "The Case for Civility: And Why Our Future Depends on it" may be just what Malaysians need in this hour of the nation.

Personally, I haven't read it yet but an interview with Dr Os Guinness shows his admiration of William Wilberforce who played a major role in eradicating slavery in Britain:

"There are scores of lessons we can learn from Wilberforce, but take just one: his civility. As a follower of the way of Jesus, he loved his enemies and always refused to demonize them. At one time he was the most vilified man in the world, but while he never minced words in speaking about the evils of slavery, he was always gracious, generous, modest, funny, witty, and genuinely loving toward his enemies. When one of his worst enemies died, he at once saw to it anonymously that his widow was cared for adequately."

Can our politicians and elected representatives regard their political rivals and fellow intellectuals with the same civility as Wilberforce? Between Anwar, Najib and Badawi, I think the latter is the most civil. Yet, he, among the three, is the one who needs most to step up the plate and provide some fresh intellectual solutions to this nation's crisis of ideas.

As for mere citizens like us: Ask not what your politicans can do for you, but ask what you can do for your family, friends and neighbours in this aspect of civility.


Samuel Goh Kim Eng said...

We are taught to hate the sin but to love the sinner
If we know how to separate the action from the actor
Though it may not be so simple as to distinguish lunch from dinner
We need to examine it from both religious and intellectual factors

(C) Samuel Goh Kim Eng - 120708
Sat. 12th July 2008.

Jeremiah said...

As Os Guinness says, character has become less important in the globalised world where we have so little time to build long-term relationships.

Who knows whether an action/speech represents the true person? The only way is to examine the person's character and build trust over time.

In politics, there's too much jostling for advantage and sound bites and too little modesty and sense of good sportmanship.

Do You Want To Know God?

Do You Want To Know God?
Say this: Heavenly Father, I have sinned against You. Forgive all my sins. I believe Jesus died on the cross for my sins and rose again. I give you my life to do as You wish. I want Jesus to come into my life & heart. In Jesus's name. Amen