keynote address from the Minister of Education of Malaysia
OF THE GUEST OF HONOUR
DATO' SRI HISHAMMUDDIN TUN HUSSEIN,
MINISTER OF EDUCATION MALAYSIA
GIVING CEREMONY AND EXHIBITION
MALAYSIA'S 1ST ARABIC & CHINESE CALLIGRAPHY COMPETITIONS ON
'THE GOLDEN RULE"
: 18 DECEMBER 2004
TIME : 10.30 A.M.
: MUZIUM KESENIAN ISLAM MALAYSIA,
JALAN LEMBAH PERDANA,
A very good morning to all of you
Director of the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia
Representative of the Konrad-Adenauer Foundation to Malaysia
Mr. Koh Sia
Secretary-General of Soka Gakkai Malaysia
Tan Sri, Puan Sri, Puan Sri, Dato', Dato', Datin, Datin, Excellencies,
ladies and gentlemen.
Both as Minister of Education and in my personal capacity I feel
very honoured and proud to have been invited to participate in
today's Prize-Giving Ceremony and Launching of the Exhibition
of the winning artworks of 'Malaysia's 1st Arabic and Chinese
Calligraphy Competition on the Golden Rule'. When I received your
invitation I most readily accepted it because I believe that you
all have accomplished a great project full of meaning, especially
in the field of civic education where the teaching of common ethical
standards is crucial for the harmonious functioning of our society.
this is the first time anywhere in the world that such a project
has been realized:
" The Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia is one of the most prestigious
Islamic institutions in the country.
" Soka Gakkai Malaysia is a well-known Buddhist organization
with a great number of followers of Chinese origin.
" The Konrad-Adenauer-Foundation is a German organization
working worldwide which is largely inspired by Christian values.
institutions of different cultural, religious, ethnical national
backgrounds have joined forces to propagate, through calligraphy
and art, a fundamental ethical standard shared by all faiths and
civilizations: "Treat Others As You Would Like To Be Treated".
This has been possible to achieve for the first time anywhere
in the world in Malaysia. It makes me very happy and proud because
Malaysia is home to a unique form of the practice of unity in
Globalization is bringing vast changes to the make-up and functioning
of every society on earth. I remember discussing this matter with
Mr. Peter Schier when I last met him a few weeks ago at the launching
of the Tun Hussein Onn Memorial Awards. As both travel and communications
become cheaper and quicker, entire populations of people are on
the move. Societies are becoming more heterogenous. Every society
will have to deal with the problem of many cultures, many faiths,
many races. If this is what the future is going to look like,
we are already there. Malaysia, with a young, multiracial population
full of energy and hope, rooted in their own cultures, yet open
to one another and to the world, is in many ways the face of a
future to which many countries aspire. Both literally and figuratively,
Malaysians have sat down side by side; on the same benches as
it were, in the school of multicultural nationhood. Instead of
being torn apart by this proximity we have learnt to find and
build a common ground broad enough to sustain peace, harmony and
friendship. Having learnt many lessons in multi-cultural and multi-religious
peace we realize we have something of great value not just to
ourselves but to other nations.
have not come easily. Works of art hide the sweat and tears which
went into their making. They give the impression of ease and naturalness.
Just ask the artists here today. Great calligraphy gives us the
impression of unmatched ease. The ink flows from the stylus or
the brush as if flowing freely and according to the way of nature.
Rightly so, and this is how we should enjoy it. But the enjoyment
of art should not be confused with the effort of its making. Malaysian
society, is like a work of art. If today we can enjoy its beauty
the way we enjoy the works we see here today, we should not forget
the effort, thought and design that went into giving us this appearance
we can thank the visionaries in our history, the makers of unity;
those who first saw the image in the canvas and were willing to
devote their lives to leadership and peacemaking. But we must
also remember that in the end peace is not the accomplishment
of one person or one group but the cumulative work of all our
people, in their endlessly creative, endlessly interesting ways
of living together in peace and harmony. I pray that our young
people are inspired by the beauty they see around them to also
take up the challenge of working for unity and peace. Here too,
just as with calligraphy, each generation, after studying the
successful patterns of the past, must then go on to find and create
its own distinctive hand, it's own brushstroke.
programmes such as the one we are launching today could do a lot
to remind people just how much common ground they share even though
they participate in different religious and ethical communities.
Instead of simply lecturing people about the Golden Rule the organizers
have chosen, instead, to ask people to make something beautiful
out of it. True beauty, like true goodness, reaches over cultural
boundaries. We respond to the beauty of Arabic or Chinese calligraphy
even if we do not share the traditions out of which they arose.
Similarly, we can recognize moral principles as they are articulated
by other religions and other traditions.
why we can recognize beauty and truth even in traditions very
different from our own is that we share a common humanity. It
is this common humanity that all your fine efforts today celebrate.
on behalf of the Malaysian government and in my own capacity I
would like to thank the organizers, all of the participants and
all who have gathered here in honour of the winners of 'Malaysia's
1st Arabic and Chinese Calligraphy Competition on the Golden Rule'
to have contributed to the success of this very meaningful and
The aim of
this competition and exhibition is to encourage the sense of justice,
solidarity and fellowship between people of all backgrounds and
faiths. This idea of the common values of humankind can be seen
in the umbrella symbol of the Konrad-Adenauer-Foundation. On this
umbrella we see the concept of the Golden Rule in its various
wordings as embraced by all the main religions of the world. You
can find it in the scriptures of the major faiths - in different
words but with the same Message: "Treat Others As You Would
Like To Be Treated." You will see this message in the scriptures
of Islam, Confucianism, Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism,
Judaism as well as the Bahai Faith. It is a moral principle that
all human beings, wherever they are, whoever they are, can understand,
or can be taught to understand. It is simple enough to teach a
child, but its implications are vast.
In this competition,
the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia, the Konrad-Adenauer-Foundation
and Soka Gakkai Malaysia chose to focus on the Golden Rule as
it is conveyed in Islam and Confucianism. As Prophet Muhammad
s.a.w. has said according to Hadith 13 of the 40 Hadith of Imam
Nawawi: "No one of you (really) believes in (Allah and in
His religion) until he loves for his brother what he loves for
his own self." And as Confucius is recorded to have said
in the Analects: "What you do not wish done to yourself,
do not do to others." These precepts from two different cultures,
Islam and Confucianism, are expressions of the same rule: "Treat
Others As You Would Like To Be Treated."
In its endeavour
to spread word of the competition, the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia
made an especially valiant effort in reaching younger communities
and encouraging them to participate. The museum's Curatorial and
Education departments joined forces to hold, with assistance from
Soka Gakkai Malaysia, a children's workshop that explored the
idea of the Golden Rule and its practical implications in the
day-to-day aspects of life. Children from different religious
and ethnical communities participated together in activities such
as the "trust walk", "good deeds accounts"
and the "wave". They learnt to respect one another and
to work together.
multicultural and connected world, and especially in these tumultuous
times, we must continue to work actively towards appreciating
and understanding one another. There is no replacement for such
work, which requires patience, commitment and yes, faith. Projects
like today's encourage us all to put our shoulder to the wheel
As the Minister
of Education I am sure the relevant departments will include the
teaching of the Golden Rule in the newly established subject of
civic education for Muslim and Non-Muslim students so that they
become more aware of the common values which are shared by their
different faiths and cultures.
commend all those of you who have reflected patiently on the meaning
of the Golden Rule. You have retold in beautiful forms what the
message means to you. We are inspired to follow you.
to you all, participants and organizers, and many thanks on behalf
of the Malaysian government and myself for your well-spent efforts,
so meaningful for our society and human society at large!
18 December 2004