Skip to main content

HARESH SAYS: What Deepavali?

As published in Malay Mail today


Haresh Says
By Haresh Deol

“BRO, if all the Indians left the country, no one would actually miss them.”
I smile sarcastically, knowing very well what Samy was about to say next.
“Maybe they will miss our thosai, vadai and the barbers ... but that’s about it,” he continued.
Samy, a neighbourhood friend, quickly moved on to another subject but I could sense his bitterness.
A visit to a hypermarket in Ampang on Monday evening strengthened Samy’s perspective.
There was not a single reference of Deepavali anywhere except for a small booth that sold twinkle lights and some decoration pieces (pic). There were several cheap-looking greeting cards bearing the faces of famous Kollywood actors and actresses for sale. That’s it.
A quick stop at another hypermarket in Petaling Jaya yesterday saw Christmas decoration items for sale. Once again, no reference of Deepavali — not even an Indian song played during my 30 minutes there.
Deepavali will be celebrated on Nov 10, that’s next Tuesday, six days from today. Yet, some people are still wondering when Deepavali is.
Last week, an elderly gentleman called Malay Mail. Without mentioning his name, he wondered if Malaysians had forgotten about the Indian community and the festival they celebrate.
“I don’t see Deepavali anywhere, young man. What happened to the spirit of togetherness and celebrating festivals together? Why is everyone taking the Indians for granted?” he said.
Once again, I sensed frustration.
This has nothing to do with fighting the cause of a particular race. This is simply about appreciating and respecting what is supposed to be another major Malaysian festival. Our celebrations are not restricted to just Hari Raya and Chinese New Year. 
And we have many other celebrations, too, like Hari Gawai, Vaisakhi and Wesak Day. How much do we know of them? Why must such celebrations be confined to a particular community? 
But perhaps stereotyping is why many tend to overlook Deepavali.
“Indians generally do not have buying power. Even if they do, it is difficult dealing with them as they tend to haggle. The Chinese and these days, the Malays, have plenty of purchasing power. So, it only makes monetary sense to spend on advertisements for markets that cater to them,” said a marketing executive, who has been in the business for decades.
“Just look at magazine covers. Some do not put an Indian face on it simply because they feel it does not bring value,” she said.
“But if you need a good (medical) specialist or a lawyer, get an Indian,” she joked, perhaps trying to make light of the situation.
Critics will argue even political parties have failed to uphold the community’s identity. MIC, just like MCA, lost the trust and faith of the community a long time ago. The infighting and power struggle seem to be more important then the welfare of the Indians. 
I am blessed to be in a family where we pretty much celebrate all the major festivals. We often buy lemang and rendang and have family or friends over during Hari Raya; Chinese New Year is spent with the in-laws; Vaisakhi and Deepavali provide a good excuse to light oil lamps and eat barfi and jelebi while the 6-foot Christmas tree will stand tall at the corner of our living room throughout December.
To us, all the major festivals are important. It is a good excuse to cook and have family and friends over. It is about setting the right mood to ditch the daily worries and soak in some fun.
It would mean a lot if others can join in the fun and spread such cheer. I have seen people tap their feet and shake their heads when an Indian song is played in a hypermarket. Don’t we love listening to Sudirman’s Balik Kampung during Ramadan? I know I do.
The Gong Xi Gong Xi tune never fails to excite the young and old ahead of the Chinese New Year and those beautiful Christmas songs ... how I wish we had snow here for just one day.
Let’s start embracing each other’s festivals and spread the love of such joyous occasions. It should not be restricted to a particular community — it is a celebration for all.
Allow me to wish Malaysians a happy Deepavali. Go easy on the muruku and mutton curry, and have a great time with your loved ones.

HARESH is executive editor of Malay Mail. He can be reached at haresh@mmail.com.my or on Twitter @HareshDeol

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

What went wrong with KL SEA Games?

145 gold medals.
It's the best Team Malaysia has ever achieved since the inception of the SEAP Games in1959.
The 29th edition of the SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur ended yesterday. The opening ceremony dazzled those at the stands and viewers at home while the performances during the closing ceremony yesterday jogged plenty of musical memories to many.
Our athletes, the real superheroes, brought smiles through their heroic display. They made everyday a happy day.
Kudos to the officials - from the coaches, the National Sports Institute and National Sports Council - for their hard work in ensuring our athletes perform to their best.
But it was not all memorable.
From

'World fashion disaster' in KL

World Fashion Week Asia 2017 ended over the weekend.

And the launch on Friday at Palace of the Golden Horses at Mines Resort City just outside Kuala Lumpur turned out to be a forgettable night.

Why?

It was poorly organised.

Just as many are trying to get over the nightmare witnessed throughout the KL SEA Games, the organiser of World Fashion Week Asia 2017 has made it look like Malaysians seem to have lost it when it comes to hosting major events and hospitality.

Here's why.

Royal protocol ignored

1. The Sultanah of Terengganu Sultanah Nur Zahirah was invited to grace the event.
    a. There was no holding room for the Sultanah and VIPs accompanying her.
    b. The Sultanah was invited on stage without anyone accompanying her there (a big NO NO if anyone knows protocol involving royalty).
    c. The event dragged on till 11.30pm, way past the cut off point of the very many events I've attended with members of the royal family present.
   d. The Sultanah was forced to walk all t…

Klang run 'illegal', says Sports Commissioner

UPDATE (Dec 11; 11.58am): Sporting events approved by Sports Commissioner's Office will be posted on the Youth and Sports Ministry's website starting Dec 14, as revealed by the Sports Commissioner in her statement today. I'm glad the last point of my observation (as per posting right below) has been addressed.

---

UPDATE (10.57pm): A Twitter user had sent me a link by the organiser of the Klang Heritage Marathon 2017. It states that the marathon has been "postponed to Oct 14, 2018" and that they have been victims of fake news and will lodge reports with the authorities against materials with elements of defamation or fake news. Read the full statement, posted on Dec 2, here.

---
ORIGINAL POST

A Klang City International Marathon 2017 pacer suffered serious injuries after she and two others were hit by a car

Turns out that the organiser of this morning's event, Earth Runners International Group Sdn Bhd, DID NOT submit any application to the Sports Commissioner&#…