On a more serious note, though, there are some serious lessons to take home. To recap, a night club owner had taken the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) to his joint for a prayer session. A renown raagi jatha was also brought to the prayer session.
LESSON 1: IT WAS WRONG
When word of the incident spread via the social media, the reaction from Sikhs was swift and sure. They condemned the action. The word beadbi – disrespect – emerged in their conversations.
On the whole, most Sikhs felt it was not proper to bring the SGGS to the night club. Everyone is pretty clear what the place is all about. Just two days earlier, on Friday, it had its Ladies Night. On offer was complimentary Vodka bottle for five ladies, tagged under #5LadiesReceiveComplimentaryVodkaBottle…
So, we know what goes on here. Even avid club goers felt this was not done. Gurdip Maan, who states on her Facebook account that she works at an Australian-based aged-care provider, comments: “Sorry la I’m a massive club goer but this is just wrong, defending this is just ANYway is just ungodly.”
To be fair, the organiser of the prayer had immediately acknowledged the mistake. They apologised very early on via a Facebook page of the night club.
LESSON 2: COLLECTED RESPONSE
It was good to note the calm and collected initial response from those angered by the disrespect shown to SGGS. They did not overreact. They did not start burning cars or get themselves into a punch up. That would have been sad. Such poor judgment, had it taken place, would have ended up as the headline, and not the beadbi itself. Well done, guys!
Sikhs, whether individually or in jathas (groups), must always temper their responses in such events. It’s okay to be angry. It’s fine to be unhappy. In fact, it is great to note that Sikhs were moved enough to want to do something when they saw the blatant disrespect shown to SGGS.
However, they must always temper that raw anger with love and wisdom that Guru Sahib wants us to carry.
LESSON 3: DISPUTE RESOLUTION MECHANISM
On the whole, the matter was well handled. It is good to see community leaders rising to the occasion in unison, and showing matured and an almost collective response.
When word got around, a group of Sikhs had gone to the location. When the event was over, they had respectfully taken the SGGS away from the premises. Fortunately, no scenes were created here, by all parties present.
The next day, four organisations met to discuss the matter further. Present were representatives from Sikh Naujawan Sabha Malaysia (SNSM), Malaysian Gurdwaras Council (MGC), Sant Attar Singh Ji Brahm Vidya Niketan Malaysia and Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji Academy (SGGS Academy). All four organisations are involved, in one way or others, in Sikhi parchaar. They decided to set-up the Panj Pyareh, consisting members from the various organisations.
The move was laudable. It is a good start in developing a dispute resolution method.We don’t need to go to Akaal Takht or look elsewhere every time are faced with difficulties.
Now, let us make the process stronger, more collective in nature. The next time, they should also involve representatives from the Coalition of Malaysian Sikh Organisations (CMSO). This is a loose coalition of eight Malaysian Sikh organisations, including Khalsa Diwan Malaysia (KDM) and Sant Sohan Singh Ji Melaka Memorial Society Malaysia. No reason to leave them out. Let us fortify the dispute resolution mechanism by making it more collective, more wholesome.
LESSON 4: ALTERNATIVE IDEAS
If the owner insisted on conducting a prayer session, he could have easily organised it minus the SGGS. No one would have objected, no hue and cry would have ensued.
Why bring the SGGS to the night club? In fact, you can stretch that question further: why take the SGGS to homes and places of business?
People should stop doing things just because we’ve always been doing it. So, if others have been bringing SGGS to their homes, do we follow suit? These are questions that we should ponder. Let us better understand our actions, and test them against the teachings of Guru Sahib.
LESSON 5: BOOZE IS OK?
The next obvious question is on the use and abuse of alcohol.
One Facebook user who waded into the issue had something interesting to share. Ajitpal Singh from Seremban says: “I don’t blame the Giannis…They probably have done similar prayers at [people’s] house where I dare say a significant percentage of them have liquor on display in their homes….trying to work out how this is any different…maybe becos we don’t call those homes as bars…”
In another thread on the same topic, a 28-year male Sikh, responded to calls to boycott the pub in question. He writes: “Why you people want to boycott Moshi Moshi pub…if you all are really sad about the beadbi why not try to follow the teaching of our Guru Sahib…Do you think Guru Sahib will be happy you all boycott Moshi Moshi but still go and drink alcohol in any other pub.”
Most of us are quite clear about what Sikhi says about intoxicants, alcohol included. The only question is: Do we want to do anything about it?
So, these are some of the lessons we can pick up from the Moshi-Moshi Prayer Fiasco. If you have more, please share them in the Comment page. — ASIA SAMACHAR (Jan 11, 2015, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)
[ASIA SAMACHAR is an online newspaper for Sikhs in Southeast Asia and surrounding countries. Please share to inform your friends of this new portal for Sikhs in this part of the world. Go to www.asiasamachar.com]
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