| Ipoh, Malaysia | 23 Aug 2015 | Asia Samachar | Updated: Sept 2 |
Gurdwaras in Malaysia are generally failing to attract the Sikh youth because they are not engaging them on what matters most to them, a Sikh seminar in Ipoh, Perak, was told yesterday.
The secret to getting the youth to the gurdwara is through engagement, collaboration and empowerement.
“There is no real link between the youth and the gurdwara today, there are hardly any youth in the gurdwara. We need to engage the youth, collaborate with them, and empower them,” said IT professional Harpreet Kaur.
She was one of the four panel members at the Northern Region Seminar in Religious Matters organised by the Malaysian Gurdwaras Council (MGC) in Ipoh, Perak.
The one-day seminar, attended by about 90 people, centred on matters related to the youth.
The discussion was spot on for Balraj Singh, the treasurer at Gurdwara Sahib Taiping, who attended the seminar with his wife Dharampreet Kaur.
“I do see that some people from the older generation cannot accept the thinking of the younger generation. They are more concerned with the gurdwara’s water bill, electricity bill. I came in search of new ideas,” he told Asia Samachar.
GEN Y, Z
When dealing with the Gen Y, Harpreet said gurdwara management teams must use tact. “When doing seva, for example, we must encourage them, not order them around,” she said.
Those born before 1965 are known as Baby Boomers. Gen X are those born 1965 onwards, Gen Y are those born between 1975 and 2000, while Gen Z are those born 2001 onwards.
“Most parents impose religious rules on the child without filling them up on the spiritual side of it. The children today wants to know why. The spiritual side is very important.
“They need to be told why such and such a thing is good for them. It’s no longer: ‘Do this because I told you so,’” she said.
Speaking on ‘Understanding the Generation Y, Dr Karminder Singh said Sikhi will be viewed by them in value percepts, not simply by what you tell them.
“They are changing every sector of our lives, they cannot live without gadgets. Web is the most relied source of information to them,” he told the seminar. “Engage them on what matters to them. If something does not matter to them, they won’t get engaged.”
Gurdwara Sahib Bercham committee secretary Arjan Singh notes that gurdwara will have to play its role in engaging the youth.
“The gurdwara should be a place of learning, not just programme, programme, programme,” he told Asia Samachar.
REHT MARYADA, CONSTITUTON
Harwindar Singh, a former jathedar of the Sikh Naujawan Sabha Malaysia (SNSM), spoke on the relevance of the Sikh Reht Mardaya, the Sikh code of conduct.
“The Sikh Reht Maryada is the most comprehensive and well researched document on application of Sikhi principles. There is no initiative like it, either before or after. It is a strong source of information for Sikhs,” he said.
In his presentation, MGC president Jagir Singh touched on matters pertanining to the constitution and law.
“Sikhs have every right to establish and maintain institutions under the Malaysian constitution,” he said.
Jagir also spoke on the advantages and disadvantages of registering a gurdwara with the Registrar of Societies (ROS), the regulatory body which governs registered societies in Malaysia.
“If a gurdwara is not registered, it will come under the protection of Article 11 of the Federal Constitution. Such a gurdwara can have their own rules and regulations,” he said.
The question of registering a gurdwara was one of the main issues that attracted two participants from Batu Gajah to the seminar: state welfare officer Paramjit Singh and Jaswinder Singh.
“I’m involved in Gurdwara Sahib Guru Arjan Dev at Batu Gajah. We’re now considering whether to register it under ROS or otherwise,” he said. – ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY PIARA SINGH
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