Kuala Lumpur celebrates and takes a stand
Suprising to me, being the first time in the Kuala Lumpur airport, to be greeted by squeaky clean floors, spectacular modern design, in both airport stations, connected by fast and efficient monorail. The highway to the downtown was also clean, manicured with flowering shrubs.
During an outdoor dinner with beautiful breezes I was informed about the local balance that exists socially and politically and religiously among the diverse populations in Malaysia: Muslim, Malay, Chines, Indian, Christians, Euroasians.
The next day my visit included Cahayasuara, a communications center housed in building that contains a video studio, editing bay, film screening auditorium, library and bookstore. The director, Lawrence John, is a member of WACC. The center conducts courses in various media for teachers and religious Christian leaders. Their most recent course is “Social Communication for Change” and it provides both a theoretical and practical/planning introduction to media. The 5-day course is intense and has met with great success among leaders who have taken the course, from the fields of education, church and press. They also hold a 2-day highly popular workshop on cartoons (popular animated features and other) for teachers of religion. They actually have fun and play, while gaining insight into values and community.
The committment to peace and justice leads to advocacy, according to Lawrence John, and recently they took on, with much trepidation, and sober prayer, Citibank whose advertising was offensive because of its improper use of a child in an ad. They won! and citibank removed the ad. If you want to learn more about this, you can e-mail Lawrence John.
Then I visited the Asian Communication Network, a new type of association that depends on the strength of the individual members. The intellectual and inspirational animator is Dr Nadarajah Manikam. The website offers great info on what they do. Te idea is a new way of helping grassroots leaders — through networked support and mutual services. Both “Nada” and “LJ” (as friends call them) are clearly devoted to their work of bulding up the human community towards peace and justice. My last night in KL we had dinner (Chinese food to celebrate the new year of the rooster) with Augy Loorthusamy who had been with me in Manila but lives in KL. Noodles!!!
The meal was true celebration of solidarity and new-found friendships.