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Every religion has got its rituals and ceremonies. Certain religions allow obeisance to statues others don’t. Some have music and dance to appease Gods and of course there is noise, smoke, and smell when lights are lighted, incense burnt and musical instruments played. Without this din some people consider their prayers are futile.

A State new director in Perak from the Unity, Arts, and Heritage Ministry, one Ramli Salleh has an aversion for smoke and smell and apparently he has a sinus or some ENT problem that makes him do so. In the first place, he should not be leading this particular Kekkwa (not ketawa} group. This chap is there to unite the various races. He hammers a nail in the heart of unity by differentiating people by how they pray. The moral of the story is don’t employ people to head agencies when they have a fear for smell and smoke.

There are a lot of things people from various ethnic groups do basing on various practices handed down from generations gone by. It is followed by the present generations. The Indians use drums, the Chinese cymbals and the Malays the kombang, Do we say one is better than the other or show displeasure just because your racial group does not do it. Where is the tolerance and understanding.

So the whole ceremony was conducted in protest, no prayers and no opening speech. I suppose the dance groups can have their performances in future, without inviting Ramli Salleh, who wittingly or unwittingly does not do much for Arts and Heritage as well. They should seriously consider this. There is no better way of ignoring him.

IPOH: A row has broken out over the matter of a traditional prayer ceremony conducted before a dance performance.

The directors of an Indian classical dance school here were upset they were not allowed by the new state director of the Unity, Culture, Arts and Heritage Ministry (Kekkwa) office here to conduct the ceremony before their annual performance this year in Taman Budaya.

State Kekkwa director Ramli Salleh, however, said they had asked the organisers not to conduct the ceremony, as there was concern over the smoke and smell from the prayer items lingering in the enclosed auditorium.

“We told them to just do the dance and they even agreed. Moreover, Kekkwa had never allowed them (to conduct the ceremony) in previous years,” he said.

Nritya Kalanjali dance school director P. Sasikumar, who runs the school with his instructor wife T. Sudha, said that it was customary among the community to honour Nataraja, the Lord of Dancers, before every Indian classical dance.

“It is a simple ritual where we put a statue of Nataraja and an oil lamp on stage, and offer flowers and prayers before the performance,” he said after the event here on Monday night.

He said he and two other schools – Natya Kalamandir and Ananda Narthana Choodamani – had always offered prayers before a statue of Nataraja when performing at Taman Budaya in 2000, 2002 and 2006.

The three-hour performance, conducted with two other classical dance schools, kicked off at 8pm without the ceremony or any speech from guest-of-honour Perak assembly speaker V. Sivakumar.

Sivakumar later told reporters that the directive suggested a kind of “intolerance” against the practices of other cultures.

Group barred from holding customary dance prayer

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One Comment

  1. This is nothing new right.

    Don’t do that don’t do this but it is only applied to certain races. We can be waken up by cries in the wee morning before the cock crows but then we are the “pendatang” have to tolerate lah. But if we do the rites according to what our fore fathers did then it becomes a problem since there are quite a number of intolerable people in Malaysia who ass u me that they are the aborigines of this land:).

    What ever happened to the unity that we studied in school, it looks like it is full of crap.


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