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Saturday, May 09, 2009

Vesak Time-Out

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Today is Vesak Day – a day to commemorate the birth, enlightenment, and passing of Gautamma Buddha. To all Buddhists, wherever you may be, Walski, on behalf of the ghouls and goblins of myAsylum, wishes you a meaningful Vesak Day.

Air Mata Buddha by Enggar, hosting by Photobucket

Vesak Day is generally a day of contemplation and observance. Because of that, there are several very good reasons why the image of Buddha in the artwork above is shedding a tear.

For almost the same reasons that we should spend some time today in contemplation and deep thought… 
(contemplation, time-out, and objectivity, in the full post)

The art piece above is called “Air Mata Buddha”, by Indonesian painter Enggar Yuwono, and is part of Walski’s catalog of artworks. It tells a story of Buddha crying, hearing the news that the hummingbird brings, telling of how man has destroyed his environment, evidenced by the cut-off lotus flowers in the background. It really is a magnificent piece, incidentally, much more impressive than the image above may lead one to believe.

Events of these past weeks, whose roots go back to much earlier in the year – February, to be exact – are equally as damaging and disastrous. Albeit on a political, and not environmental level.

And so, on this day of contemplation, Walski urges everyone involved, either directly or otherwise, to take some time and contemplate a little about the events that have transpired, and the lasting effect that they bear on our future. Precedence, once set, is not easily undone. Not impossible, of course, to undo, but difficult.

Sometimes, it’s important to step back and reassess. And today is probably an appropriate day to do it.

When things go awry, it’s always easier to blame the “other”, without the slightest inclination to be a little introspective, and to assess how one may have also had a hand in allowing the situation become what it is.

To Walski, the Perak crisis is one such situation. For perspective, do read Art Harun’s excellent piece from yesterday.

Lest I be accused of being partisan, allow me to state at the outset that I am not going to moralise the issue. Nor am I going to say who is right and who is wrong. For the purpose of this posting, I am just going to assume that the BN assemblymen together with the 3 independents assemblymen formed the majority at the Assembly. I am also going to accept the postulation that Zambry is the Menteri Besar of Perak. Consequestly, I am also going to assume that the Pakatan Rakyat assemblymen were the minority. And Nizar was not the Menteri Besar of Perak. I am also going to accept as a fact that the motions were file properly and in accordance with rules of procedures of the Assembly.

Now, the main question is whether Sivakumar's removal was valid or otherwise. The next question is whether Ganesan's appointment as the Speaker was valid or otherwise.

(source: ARTiculations)

Art has done something here that is superbly atypical – he has managed to remain objective, despite his outrage. And who doesn’t feel outraged by what has transpired of late?

One thing that Walski feels we Malaysians lack sometimes is objectivity. We often get our panties too knotted up emotionally. We find it difficult to step back and look at a situation from all angles. And mostly, we find it sometimes very difficult to detach ourselves when analyzing a particular situation.

Walski will also admit that he, too, is guilty of this sometimes. And as such, today, Vesak Day, will be for him a day to take a calm objective look at things.

That said, he hopes that today, we all take a little time out and contemplate.

The damage that man has done to his environment is what made Buddha sad in the art piece. The damage that we’ve done to ourselves, as a people and as a nation is equally as sad. It all likelihood, sad enough to make the ancient sage shed another tear.

Happy Vesak Day, Malaysia.

Walski's artistic non-religious affiliatory footnote: It may come as a big surprise to you, but the artist, Enggar Yuwono, is a Muslim. He views Buddha not as a religious icon, but as someone symbolizing knowledge and wisdom. That kind of objectivity is definitely something that many Malaysian Muslims lack – things are always seen way too literally. It has also occurred to Walski that in this post, both art and Art have been featured – this, believe it or not, is purely coincidental.