Oppressed in my own country

Posted on November 12, 2007



Vani wrote to me on 2nd November, 2007.

Her letter left me greatly troubled and moved me to decline to partake in the Deepavali festivities.

She has consented to my reproducing her letter.

It appears below.


Dear Haris, 

I do not know why I am writing to you but I need to tell somebody. And I thought whom do I write to? Newspapers, the ministry, the local council? It sounded like a joke to me. But you name popped out in my head. 

I read about the recent temple demolition in Padang Jawa. I come across these incidents pretty often these days and each time my heart bleeds. But this time, I broke down and sobbed my heart out. I m a Hindu. 

They broke the deities’ with hammers and flattened the temple with bulldozers.

For many, they are just stones but for us, they are our lives.

It is where I unburden my problems.

It is where I place my hopes.

It is where I say a prayer for mankind. 

Why such vengeance towards us?

Am I not a Malaysian? Was I not born in this country?

Am I not your sister? 

The wordings ‘Tanah tumpahnya darahku’ hold the same deep meaning to me as the rest of us.

Am I not your fellow countryman? 

Why, then, so much hatred towards us? 

It is ironic that people who carry out these tasks are Muslims. It is a religion which teaches compassion and peace.

How can one, then, raise a hammer to destroy something, which we regard as God? 

By all means, remove it if it is illegal and obstructive. All they asked was another piece of land to relocate.

Is that too much to ask?  

Doesn’t the Indian community have any dignity? Don’t we deserve any respect? 

My ancestors broke their backs for this country. My father broke his back for a government linked company for 35 years. And I m continuing the tradition. 

Did we not contribute equally to this country’s development and progress? 

My heart bleeds.

My blood boils.

Because I m oppressed in my own country.

People are oppressed in their land of birth.

We have nowhere to go.

And it really seems like there is nothing we can do about it. 

Deepavali is a week away.


And the people of Padang Jawa do not have homes or a temple to light their lives up.


How many others are out there?



Posted in: Bangsa Malaysia