Events unfolding the past few weeks have impacted many peace-loving Malaysians, and I am no exception. If they are an indication of the direction this country is heading then we are in for a rough ride. Issues relating to race and religion keep making headlines threatening to rip apart the fabric of our fragile relationship. Unfortunately, the ones harping on these issues are members of the ruling coalition and their cohorts. They have no love for the country and their insistence on creating disharmony among the races is for one simple reason – to remain in power indefinitely. This is the outcome of a one-party rule that has been the bane of this country for the last six decades.
The ruling party, has only one aim in mind, to extricate itself from a quagmire it has unwittingly created. In its haste to settle mounting debts brought about by fiat and thievery, it has submitted itself to a foreign power who has the money and the clout to impose itself on us. It is not something we asked for but, unwittingly, we are the beneficiaries of this imbroglio.
A national-type primary school in Hulu Langat, Selangor was reported to have labelled cups murid Islam (Muslim pupil) and murid bukan Islam (non-Muslim pupil) and had them placed in separate compartments of a dish dryer. This, I believe, was being deliberately done to segregate Muslims from non-Muslims. And the people behind this caper are teachers who are so imbued with Islamic values that they cannot separate facts from fiction.
Then there was this federal minister who proclaimed that “non-believers in Malaysia should be hunted down, as there is no place for atheism in this country”. He alluded to the Constitution which states that Islam is the official religion while others are free to practise their own faith. The Constitution, he insisted, does not mention “atheism”. He was referring to a group called “Atheist Republic” whose Kuala Lumpur chapter had held a gathering recently. The gathering had caused outrage among the Muslim community after it was highlighted on social media.
I may not agree with the views of the group but isn’t the freedom to worship enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights? And this declaration should not be exclusive to non-Muslims only. “If a religion threatens to punish disbelievers by death it is certainly not a religion of peace,” said one commentator. I agree wholeheartedly. The minister should find out why the number of disbelievers is on the rise rather than make threats.
Although this next episode has little or no bearing on the foregoing incidences, it is on a lighter side. It relates to the special bond fostered between humans and animals, and the protagonists are none other than yours truly and his cat.
Kittie came into our lives in early August 2002. She was barely two weeks old when we found her meowing in front of our Bercham house one morning. There was a pair, one a tabby the other a mix of grey and white. My wife placed some milk in a saucer and left it to the pair. About an hour later only the mixed coloured kitten was around, the other had wondered off to my neighbour’s house across the road. Till today I have no clue what has become of Kittie’s sibling.
My wife had an aversion for cats due to some bad experiences in the past. But Kittie’s pleasant demeanour mellowed her. Over time she was the one who took care of the cuddly feline, cleaning her litter box and feeding her. Kittie was fairly well behaved and obedient. She never jumped on the dining table and would not do anything mischievous that would displease us. Her weakness was suckling. She would suckle our blanket like kittens do when hungry. The blanket was her “mother”. This went on for a while until I removed the blanket and, thus, denied her the privilege. I lived to regret my action.
Kittie grew in size and when her reproductive system was in overdrive, we had her spayed. Dr Goh, the only-known veterinarian in Ipoh then, did the honours. This was in 2003 when pet care in Ipoh was still a nascent industry. And like all growing cats, Kittie had her fair share of naughtiness. I lost count the number of times I had to climb trees, roofs and balconies to rescue her. She took off a few times and my poor wife had to go around the neighbourhood calling out her name.
Months turned to years and our relationship blossomed. Kittie was our four-legged daughter and the gem in my wife’s eyes. We took her along to our new house in Simpang Pulai in 2009 and she settled in wonderfully in spite of her new surroundings.
In late July 2016 she went missing. She appeared at our doorstep four days later looking haggard and disheveled. The reason was obvious – competition. She disliked our new addition, Lucky, a loveable kitten whom my wife found while jogging one morning. Kittie’s health deteriorated subsequently. Upon examining we found that her kidneys were not functioning properly, a common problem in aging cats.
On Friday, August 4 our much-loved moggy heaved her last breath at 7.50am. She was 15, rather old for a cat. We mourned her passing and had her buried under a tree in the field fronting our house. Rest in peace, Kittie. You will be sorely missed.