Gratitude to our ancestors

Ancestors\' tablets in temple

The first week of April, during the annual remembrance festival, my cousins and I went to visit the graves of our relatives (our grand father and mother and uncle). We all recalled in our own ways, our gratitude to our parents and our parent’s parents. We are glad to be here.

Our ancestors, either buried or cremated, not physically with us, silent, but are not forgotten. They are still alive in our mind. I guess, in their spirit world, they too are seeking out their missing ones, dead or life, in their own form, to tell stories about themselves and to listen to news of other persons or events.

Two years ago, my mother died, in the hospital; she was in a coma for forty days. It was my good fortune, to have my mother, to know her only when she decided to let you into her thoughts, was by her side and to share a house together, almost all her eighty years of life. Of course, there were many times over the years, we each thought the other was unthinking and that we had injured each other, by words and/or deeds, assured that we were not continuing to be together anymore, but then we stayed on anyway.

What I find most amazing is the fact that we have ancestors, relatives, brothers and sisters, not of our choosing, nether did they particularly had any interest in us, but yet we are part of this humanity. We are all related by blood and could reach each other, if we so desire, but often don’t, for mutual comfort, to help each other, to dispel our pains, fears, longings etc.

Keeping the dead alive

April is usually the time of the year when many Malaysian Chinese remember their dead by visiting the grave yard. This is a spring festival with a long tradition from China. This practice of keeping the dead alive takes many forms and expressions through out the world and every society and tribe has their own way of recalling their dead.

This is not ancestor worship like turning our fore fathers and mothers into some kind of gods but just an act to keep them in our mind. Our parents and grand parents are only dead if we stop thinking of them, giving thanks to them, being grateful to them for bring us into this world (sometime not of our own choosing).

Many people believe that the dead can speak on demand and they can have a direct line to their past, but if you don’t, the job of discovering, both the absence and presence simultaneously, of our lost ones, can be a difficult mental space to learn to grasp. For the rest, the usual way to remember our forebears, it may just be an act of conjuring up the thought of them (pleasant or otherwise).

The task is even more complicated if you happen to want to go seeking as far back as whom really our first ancestors were. Our ancient origins may be many many millions of years old, coming out from what is Africa today, to settle in different parts the earth. We may all have mix-blood down the line and are all even distant blood brothers and sisters (at war or at peace).

8-3-08 Malaysian Dissent Day


The sovereign peoples of Malaysia, 49% of the 7.9 million, who went to the polls during the 12 general election on 8-3-08, voted for the opposition parties. Only 51% voted for the national coalition parties and they now rule the country by a simple majority, not with the 2/3 majority as they enjoyed before.

This is a victory for the Malaysians who dared to register their vote of dissent to the politicians in power for the last 51 years and this act of objection deserved our gratitude and praise. This ought to be a date in Malaysian history as a Malaysian Dissent Day (MDD) and ought to be celebrated annually from now on.

Politically MDD  will remind all the politicians, in power or otherwise, the peoples of the nation is the authority. And there is still the next task to get the rest, 50% of the population of 27 million, who didn’t register to vote to do so for the next election. This is a vote by the different peoples, for the peoples of the country and not for politicians to misuse it for their own personal or party’s benefit.

MDD will alert its electorates about the social and cultural racist practices that existed in the country and learn how this concept of a ‘superior race’ is used, not just in Malaysia but world wide, as a tool to divide and subjugate its citizens and make them miserable and downtrodden.

The sovereign peoples of Malaysia deserved to live in freedom, dignity and fraternity. Long live the voice of dissent. Merdeka! Merdeka! Merdeka!