Friday, September 24, 2010

Stop Building Hindu Temples

I read recently that Selangor State Government is planning to rebuilt the controversial Kampung Jawa Hindu Temple which was demolished in 2007. It must be acknowledged that the demolition has lead to the Hindraf demonstration and is also one of the main emotional reason why Indian Malaysians chose to vote for Pakatan Rakyat in the 2008 General Elections.

Recent sentiments suggest that Indians have been slowly returning their support to Najib, rather than MIC and the fact that Pakatan Rakyat have not done much for the Indians has prompted some Indian leaders to take some race centric actions to shore up the support for Pakatan Rakyat as well as promote themselves as champions of the Malaysian Indians.

One of the easiest way to fool Malaysian Indians and get their support is to do any good for their Hindu Temples. Even if you are a well known crook or gangster, temple committees will welcome you with open arms as long as you donate to new temple building or maintaining temples.

Selangor Executive Councillor, Xavier Jayakumar knows this well and has taken full advantage. The generous Selangor state government reportedly allocated RM 4million grants to be distributed specifically to Hindu Temples in Selangor.

With cash in hand, there is no other easier way to shore up support and also promote oneself. Xavier, armed with a cheque book has been to every nook and corner of the state, visiting every other temple he could find and donate specific amount depending on the size of population and temple in a specific area. He has reportedly even provided grants to illegal temples in certain locations just to please the Indians.

Wherever he goes, he never fails to invite all 3 major Tamil newspapers with him. His face can be seen in all major Tamil dailies on a daily basis (this is no exaggeration). His face is even more popular and recognizable as compared to other BN or Pakatan leaders.

There are questions though over his conduct. If he is sincere enough in assisting the temples, he could have just allocated the RM 4million accordingly and distribute it at one go in his office or perhaps a function attended by MB Khalid and other Exco members. Why the need to go to every other temples and ensure that the whole press entourage is there with him if not for the reason of regular publicity.

Coming back to the proposed rebuilding of Kampung Jawa temple, there are many questions to be answered before the state government embark on building yet another Hindu temple in Selangor.

Personally, I do not agree with using tax payers money ( I am a rate payer in Selangor) to provide grants to temples for building of new temples or even for the purpose of maintenance.

As we all are well aware, the number of Hindu Temples in Malaysia far outnumber the mosques and churches or Chinese temples, though the population percentage of Hindus are less than 1.5 million.

It must be noted that unlike other religions, it is not a must for Hindus to go temples to pray. It is more of a objective of community bonding, therefore there is no need for temples to be built everywhere.

In Kuala Lumpur and Selangor, the number of temples is far more than sufficient and majority are hardly patronized unless there are some so-called religious events or festivals. You don’t have to go far, just drive along Jalan Ipoh where there are at least 5 temples or go to Batu Caves where there are at least 15 other temples of various sizes apart from the humungous Batu Caves temple.

Questions For The State Government

The first question a responsible government should ask is, aren’t there far too many temples in the state.

Why there are new temples continue to be built or rebuilt when there are sufficient temples readily available to the so-called pious Indians to pray.

Why should government allow new temples to be built if the temple committee have no funds or rather no clues on how the finance the building.

Why taxpayers money is being spent annually to upkeep the temples? Why built the temples in the first place if the temple committee or local residents has no clue on how to finance the upkeep of the temple.

Why aren’t the so-called devotees of the temples contributing to the upkeep of the temples. This is the usual case everywhere where, Indians want temples within the vicinity but refuses to even contribute RM 10 every month.

Don’t we know that contributing funds to temples will only result in temple committee and local residents becoming complacent and end up begging the government every year?

Why is there a need to rebuilt Kampung Jawa temple. Has the residents in the vicinity been deprived of opportunity to fulfill their religious obligations due to unavailability of temples?? Obviously the answer is no.

Is Xavier Jayakumar trying to stir up Indian or rather Hindu emotions and be their ultimate champion by rebuilding the kampong Jawa temple?

Has Selangor state government reviewed the existence of both legal and illegal temples in the state?

Has the state government acted against illegal temples in the state and taken some action to remove those temples?

Or are the State government and Jayakumar waiting for landowner of the illegal temples to raise eviction notices before they jump in to defend the temples, find altenative site and eventually turn themselves into the heroes of the Hindu community is the affected areas?

Where would the grants for the temples end up? It would be usually used completely for the temple annual celebrations, with no other benefits for the community. In another words, it will end as a sheer waste of money finished for a one day event. If they can conduct the annual celebrations without state government’s assistance before, why would they need it now?

Despite calls to utilize temples as community centres with activities for youth and children, very few temples do so. If this is the case, why should tax payers money is spent for the benefit of few temple committee members to spend and finish the funds for the annual celebrations?

Use the funds for Long Term Productive Purposes

The state government could well focus on uplifting the economic condition of the Indian community.

The RM 4 million could be well spent on assisting the community by providing loans for small businesses, single mothers and more importantly on youth whether in the form of scholarship or even technical training for secondary school drop outs.

Imagine how many students or youth could benefit from the RM 4 million annually? Imagine how many families could benefit in the long term if one of their family members are accorded scholarship or more importantly technical training.

Why can’t the state government and a learned Exco think wisely and act prudently with tax payers funds and use it for productive purposes which would provide long terms positive returns to the community.

Pakatan Rakyat and it’s Indian representatives continue to play the same BN tune and use the same strategies, which is to fool the community by playing religious sentiments without any long term benefits to the upliftment of the community.

Hindus and Indians needs leaders to inspire them to do the right thing, which is to focus on improving their educations levels of their children , attain necessary skills suitable at current times and viable businesses.

Indian leaders should scold, cajole and inspire Indians to invest in education and not on temples and unnecessary religious and non-religious events and celebrations that does not bring about any benefits to the Hindus.

It is a well known fact that Indians spends thousands on weddings, cultural events and celebrations but don’t even subscribe to any newspaper or books at home.

Has the hundred of years of building temples and worshipping them resulted in Hindus living above poverty line with reasonable living standards and known to be a respectable community?

The answer is obviously no? Hindraf blames BN, Pakatan also blames BN for the poverty and marginalisation of Indians. Why not blame the Hindu gods for not bringing about any improvement to the socio-economic well being of the community despite building thousands of temples and worshipping them for more than hundred years??

My anwer is simple, God do not help anyone who does not help themselves. Therefore Mr Jayakumar, do Selangor need more temples?

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