May 14, 2006
A friend of mine has been working through the days and nights, slaving away relentlessly together with his production team on a documentary entitled "Chief". It's a documentary on the Chief Monk in Malaysia, K Sri Dhammananda, who is apparently the most prominent figurehead of Buddhism in Malaysia. He's been based in Malaysia for more than half a century, teaching and doing good works amongst the community.
Now, I am a Christian who fully believes in the verity and truth of my God. Of late, one of the most essential parts of the doctrine I have focused upon is social justice. The Bible encourages all alike to engage in issues of social justice, caring and being burdened for the poor and needy. The second essential thing is the working out where exactly our boundaries lie (if any) in terms of interfaith activity. And where Christians ought to stand with regards to both?
K Sri Dhammananda has successfully figured these two issues out on behalf of the Buddhists in Malaysia, by constantly engaging in social welfare activities. He is also the founder of, and is involved in, the MCCBCHS (Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism and Sikhism).
In that sense, I consider it a privilege to be part of this project, albeit a small role. If you get to watch the movie, you'll hear some nice (ahem) narration.. and yes that is yours truly. This is an interesting project, which has brought together Buddhists (of course), Muslims (in the production process) and a Christian (moi). You can read more on the Chief website designed exclusively for the movie, which premieres in the WIFF, Wesak International Film Festival, on the 21st May 2006, Malaysian Tourism Centre KL.
I conclude by predicting that some Christians might not be too sure about their take on this. Some may reason that by contributing to a film of a different religion, this may be a compromise on my part as a Christian. However, those who know me will know that I am never one to compromise my beliefs and stands. The narration does not require any chanting or stating of beliefs in any religion; it is an objective portrayal of the worthy contributions of a prominent leader.
One of the co-ordinators of the WIFF remarked that he is glad that there was diversity involved in this project. He says the Chief would have wanted it that way.
I wonder whether the Christian community would share his views were it to engage in a similar activity…
Is this one step forward for national unity, and one step backward for my convictions in the faith? I believe it is the former, and I would that many disagree on the latter.
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