Sunday, July 26, 2009

MLK and Yasmin

"I still believe that standing up for the truth of God is the greatest thing in the world. This is the end of life. The end of life is not to be happy. The end of life is not to achieve pleasure and avoid pain. The end of life is to do the will of God, come what may."

--Martin Luther King, Jr.

(From, quoted in today's church bulletin)

* * *

At the end of Yasmin Ahmad's Gubra is a parallel scene in which a father and son are kneeling in church, reciting the Lord's Prayer, and a mother and daughter (I think), clad in telekung and reciting prayers.

At least, I think it is the Lord's Prayer. I remember only the phrase, "Father, forgive us."

I was having lunch with a friend--it could have been Ai Wei--in KPS, and she asked if it was Gubra, saying it has a very Yasmin Ahmad-like feel. It was my first glance at Gubra, and the memory is still very vivid.

Yasmin was good at parallels, showing that Malaysia remains united because at the heart of it there are more things that unite us than things that divide us. And these things that unite are not the stuff of government (or opposition) propaganda, but things like the cries of repentance and forgiveness that echo across the Muslim-Christian divide.

It is reported that she died of bleeding in her brain. If we could see the colour of that blood, and if we could somehow bleed with her also, we would see that we all bleed the same red blood.

I'd like to think that she would have wanted that to be a lesson, that when we call for the blood of another Malaysian, we are truly calling only for our own blood.

I do not know how she felt or what she was thinking in the hours before she slipped out of consciousness, but she stood up for the truth of God, alright. And when she meets Martin Luther King, Jr, I think they would have quite a bit to talk about.

We are a fragmented country, and even our flag may be interpreted along such lines.

We have a sharp star, like the durian--the aroma of heaven to some, the stench of death to others. Is it not true of us, that we Malaysians are so good at hurting and poking one another?

We have a moon that is not full, but just barely a sliver of light. Almost as if the choice is in our hands, if we should allow the light to shine more brightly, or if we should snuff it out.

Red and white stripes. Sacrifice and holiness, the highest calling of the Christian life, perhaps even the most enduring pillars of all religion and faith throughout the centuries.

Rest in peace, Yasmin. There may be hope yet for Malaysia. Your movies set things in motion, got people talking. I suspect we will see DVDs surface, and perhaps some of them may be rerun in local cinemas. We can only hope that the seeds you planted will reap a blessed future.

There may be hope yet.

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