August 5, 2007
A Language of Persuasion
Those who had urgent messages for the people of a nation cowed under by darkness and doom shared one thing in common: their ability to go down to the level of the people and speak in a language they understood.
Their hearts were equally heavy, perturbed by the situation which seemed unending, a cyclical pattern of – for lack of a better word, evil.
Goodness and purity seemed so alien to a world encumbered with pride, greed and self-centredness. Preaching anything but the development of self would be contrary to norm.
Jesus and Muhammad, both great and noble teachers of their time. Both with urgent, crucial messages that needed to be spoken to their respective people groups. They were one amongst the crowd, men amongst men. They spoke in parables and phrases the people were familiar with, walked and talked with them, infused their teachings into the cultures inherent and practiced at the time. Their humility to do so has made them historical figures, whose teachings will always be remembered and held in high esteem.
We do not claim to call ourselves anywhere near these great teachers. But we do have a story, a desperately urgent message that needs to be heard. One that needs to be told to our people, lest we all fall into the trap together. How do we do this?
Let us learn to speak the language of those with whom we converse. What is it that makes the people tick? Let us analyse the workings of the mass mind. The emotive persuasive skills that can convince in real terms. A process of empathy vs. one of defensive confrontation.
Because we do not want to argue. Nor debate uselessly. Nor antagonise.
Because we want to persuade, as if those to whom we speak are as yet unclear and require clouds in their heads to be removed.
Because we want our messages to be told in the language they understand.
What would Jesus or Muhammad say to the many, many Malaysians who are entrapped in a cycle of bigotry, discrimination, racism, insecurity, fear, confusion, arrogance, delusion and injustice?
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