blogging gobbledygook and such

A local Chinese man made news recently when he was reunited with his long-lost family after being switched at birth. Today, another piece of news about him appeared in the papers; he wants to convert from being a Muslim to a Buddhist, because he was raised in a Malay Muslim family as a result of the switch and thus “was never given the chance to choose his own religion.”

In Malaysia, we’re “free” to choose our religion. You can be a Hindu one day and a Buddhist the next. You can revert to being a Hindu if you should so please the day after. But to be a Muslim is a one-way trip with no return ticket available. So if you became a Muslim by conversion through marriage, you cannot undo that if you divorce. And you can’t marry a Muslim without being one.

But honestly, this reason given is quite lame. If you really think about it, why should the Chinese man, Zulhaidi Omar, be given the choice of choosing his religion just because of the baby switch that so unfortunately happened to him? If he can be given the choice, why can’t this choice be given to all Malaysians, even though they were not switched at birth? Because if religion is something you choose, is it really your choice if your biological family raised you as a Muslim? What if you don’t want to be a Muslim?

Freedom of religion in Malaysia is often talked about, even cited as a reason for how one is happy to live in Malaysia, but it remains just that: talk. Freedom of religion is just in name, with terms and conditions just like everything else in life.

Comments on: "Freedom of religion in Malaysia?" (8)

  1. The most important thing to think is what is a religion? What is the implification when we choose a religion? If we think religion is something that we can throw away when we find something that suit our needs, your idea can be accept. But religion is more than that. It is your life after your dead. It is why you are given a life in this world. There are so many religion in this world. How come they are same when we can’t get along. Which is the truth religion? It you as human being which have been given a mind by the god to think about it and do a research. Not simply use your finger dan mouth. Write from the mind. Research all the religion and you can talk about religion. If you do not belief in religion, don’t talk about it. Unless you do a reliable research.
    Thank you.

    sulz: what am trying to point out is the lack of true freedom of religion in malaysia. the rather careless example self demonstrated is to prove that this freedom is available to all non-muslims in malaysia, but it’s not possible for muslims should they wish to leave the religion. have no intention of belittling religion as such, just to demonstrate the freedom of choosing one’s religion in malaysia.

    all that is written is purely self’s opinion and as such, no research is required. readers should take note that what self has written may not be entirely true, or otherwise. it is entirely up to your discretion to choose and pick what you agree with.

  2. Living in the US we have a diverse culture of religions. We have so many religious denominations that we have denominations evolve from the denominations at times. There is also a large secularist culture growing such as agnostics and atheists. You can pretty much pick and choose your religion. I guess it does not seem to shock many people here when someone changes religious beliefs. I suppose if you think about it switching beliefs should not be all that shocking when you consider that three of our major religions; Christianity, Judaism and Islam all have separate roots leading back to the same God.

    sulz: yes, the number of religions and cults out there can really flummox self if self were to choose one as a lifelong faith. actually, switching beliefs is fine by self, it’s the true freedom of religion in malaysia am questioning. for self, am not born into a muslim family, so do own that freedom, but that is not the case for muslims here, which self think is something we should ponder.

  3. lovelyloey said:

    I NEED YOUR HELP! Em, I’m doing an English project on Malaysian Undergrad Blogs. I understand that you did a similar search for Malaysian English blogs right (hiak hiak hiak). How did you do your search, especially for WordPress based ones? 🙂

    sulz: mana ada? the other link asked you about was a survey conducted by students from ntu. sorry, did no such research, but if can help you any way, just holler. 🙂

  4. lovelyloey said:

    Arh~ Any of your classmates on WordPress? LOL. Just wondering, the normal age for undergrads in Malaysia is about 19-22? Or from 18? Thanks ya~

    sulz: none know of use wordpress, they go to blogspot, them silly ninnies. lol. malaysian undergrads of public universities usually between 20-25, though there are the odd 19-year-olds. in private colleges, it’s about 18-23.

    alah, no sweat. your project sounds fun.

  5. I think Tarmize is confusing faith, spirit and religion. Or how is your religion any good to you when you are dead?

    My view? Whether we like it or not as long as we reside on planet earth religion affects us one way or another, so even if one does not have a religion or doesn’t believe in it we can still talk about it to some extent. I personally believe that religion has become a lot of man-made rules and regulations, that man believes (and I use man generically) will help him get closer to God. Unfortunately I don’t see how man-made rules that exclude, cause fear and box people in can do that…

    Religions, through people, put up barriers , such that if you believe in God, and hang around too many “religionists” of whatever flavour, you might end up being less of a believer than when you started out, particularly if you don’t play by the rules. Some religions, like Sulz mentioned will kill you if you defect – which kind of defies the notion of freedom. Others are rather like exclusive clubs, with central figureheads all vying for power. It’s what people make them.

    Which is rather a pity, because they have the same root. The real messages of love and faith, charity hope, kindness to our fellow person which the great religions are supposed to be about gets lost in the noise of religion.

    But at the end of the day, in a free society, people should have the right to choose which, if any religion they wish to follow. I would hate it to be otherwise. But I would deeply question any religion or structure that says they will kill a person who decides they no longer want to be part of it…. that isn’t freedom, it’s bondage.

    sulz: he is possibly not very proficient in english, and may had some troubles expressing his views, and he was most likely offended by self’s example of freedom of religion here.

    yes, religion truly is man-made, because the bible and the al-quran sure didn’t drop from the sky with everything fully written!

    well, they don’t kill people who want to defect from muslim as such, but they sure killed off that person’s faith of the religion and the state of “freedom of religion” in this country. when said one-way ticket, it means that there’s no turning back against muslim; you will have your religion stated in your identity card, and you will be buried the muslim way should you die. there was a case where an indian family disputed the decision to bury their indian relative the muslim way because they were not aware that he has converted to muslim and was suspicious of that claim. sometimes, there are people who were “mistakenly” stated as muslims in their identity cards, and go through a lot of hassle to have that rectified, or otherwise should they die, they must be buried the muslim way!

  6. Edseverripit said:

    But I’m pretty sure everyone else is afraid because you know what they say about muslims being punished to death because of conversion. Eeep! and what Ann Coulter said wasn’t really nice, either.

    sulz: yes, fear can certainly shut people’s mouth more effective than any other thing. and what did ann coulter say?

  7. Of course anyone can change their religion or have no religion at all. That’s a human right that Malaysia’s proposed “Islamic Declaration of Human Rights” will EXCLUDE.

    If any Muslim convert in Malaysia wants to return to his religion, apply to migrate as refugee to any first world country. Include any “surat” from the local Tok Iman warning you that it is against the law with your application so that the host country can see you are truly being denied a fundamental right.

    Contact an immigration lawyer or attorney to help you with your application. Do it today or they will get you when you die. Under Muslim law the Govt gets to keep your proeprty if your family don’t convert to Islam! Howzat for cheek?

    sulz: hmm, is this spoken out of experience? sounds alarming…

  8. Chewbacca said:

    I know this really wonderfully beautiful and charming Malay girl, and she’s a Muslim and I am not. It’s a crying shame that if I were to begin a relationship with her, there’s no way that I can take it all the way to matrimony, simply because of the fact that I would have to convert into Islam, and no girl is worth that, in my opinion. It’s hard enough to find someone you really like, whom you think is perfect for you, and to have any chance at happiness ruined by something as trivial as religious difference.

    sulz: honestly, romances of different faiths shouldn’t really compel one or the other to convert. perhaps for someone like you religious difference in trivial in the grander scheme of things (like how hard it is to find someone you see yourself spending the rest of your life with!) but from another perspective it is actually a rather big deal because some are of the opinion that religion should be more important than love.

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