Malaysiakini Letter

Prayers at missionary schools were never an issue before

Chin How Zet
Published:  |  Modified:

LETTER | Coming from a Catholic missionary school background since my childhood days and spending a total of 11 years studying in Saint Xavier's De La Salle primary school and Saint Xavier's Institution, it is my duty to protect the interest, rituals and traditions of our schools in Penang which date back to its founding year of 1852.

I would like to stress that all missionary schools in Penang have a very strong belief for the continuous promotion multiculturalism and multiracialism from all walks of life regardless of your race, colour and religion.

This is why during our weekly Friday assembly, it is our culture and tradition for the past 167 years to always start the school assembly with one minute of silence. Why is that so?

The reason behind this one minute of silence is to allow students coming from all walks of life to pray according to their own religion in their own way. Never once, while I was studying at Saint Xavier's di the Catholic Brothers call upon us to convert to become Catholics ourselves.

Besides, when I was in my lower secondary form Form 1 to 3, there was this particular period in our weekly schedule where Muslim students would go to the surau to learn about the Islamic teachings while Catholics and Christians would be taught about the Holy Bible in our school chapel.

Meanwhile, students who practised other religions such as Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism or Taoism were allowed to stay in the class to use this time to study, to pray in their own way, or even use this time to do their own study revision.

Never once did any parent or student complain or turn this whole saga into a political issue. But if certain parties wish to use this matter and turn it into a political issue for their own political gain and benefit, then trust me, your current work is just to divide and rule this nation which will lead to a very bad situation where our multiculturalism will be slowly destroyed with our national security facing another threat from a small group of fanatic religious extremism worshippers.

This is why our school vision has always been "miracles happen for touching hearts". The various Catholic Brothers had always been telling us to respect and love each other instead of spreading hatred.

Once again, I would like to urge the Ministry of Education to kindly review their decision on giving a stern warning against the Methodist Girls School. This should prevent the spread of religious hatred in a country that we love - the "Malaysia Harapan Baru" (Malaysia's New Hope).


The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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