Thursday, 25 December 2014



"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” – Luke 2:14

And yes YOU have the Right NOT not to wish anyone a Merry Christmas.


The people at ISMA are absolutely right when they say that they have a right not to wish anyone a “Merry Christmas”.

After all, Christmas isn’t central to any facet of their culture or beliefs, and it shouldn’t be compulsory for them to have to wish anyone anything during any cultural or religious celebration other than out of a sense of community and camaraderie.

In fact, no Christian would go out of his way to expect one of Malaysia’s far-right groups to wish him a merry anything, given the protestations we’ve heard throughout the year from ISMA.

But it is ISMA’s right to not wish anyone a “Merry Christmas”.

However, that’s not what we ask for from ISMA. All we want is the right to celebrate peacefully, without controversy, probably for the first time this year.

All we want is to meet some friends, whether at home or at a restaurant, and maybe exchange gifts.Perhaps even have a drink or two to celebrate getting through another year together, still going strong.

Even to the less devout of us, Christmas is a special time to be thankful for family and loved ones, to presents gifts in thanks for receiving the love and company we’re been given throughout the year.
It’s not as grandiose as it seems on a personal level, and is a time for reflection above all else.

It’s a time to head back home and enjoy dad’s lamb shanks and mom fussing over the guests, to say hello to the siblings and perhaps even give them something, to connect with cousins you haven’t seen for months, to let the uncles and aunties ask about marriage and smile inanely after brushing the question off.

It’s about going to church early in the morning to be reminded that even if we don’t love ourselves, there is a Creator who does, and that all hardships we endure eventually will seem small in hindsight.

To greet friends you haven’t seen in a while because you haven’t been as dutiful as you might like in going to church.

To listen to the pastor speak and think that perhaps next year I will do better by myself and my loved ones.
It’s a time for forgiveness. So, on behalf of all Christians, I’d like to say to ISMA, we forgive you.

You may hurt our feelings and belittle our beliefs. You may make us disheartened and feel as if we are being crushed even as we go about and live life in our own little ways.

But our faith is predicated on the idea of unconditional forgiveness, even towards our enemies, and in that self-same spirit, we wish you the very best of the seasons greetings.

Let this be a time to lay down our swords and instead to enjoy a moment of peace after all the turmoil that’s raged in Malaysia throughout the year.

After all, there’ll be plenty more where that came from soon enough.

- Scott Ng

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