Bill Belew has raised 2 bi-cultural kids, now 34 and 30. And he and his wife are now parenting a 3rd, Mia, who is 8.
Christmas in Asia – Celebrating in Malaysia
Christmas is a public holiday in Malaysia,
However, like most of the world, even in the ‘Christian’ west much of the public celebration is commercial in nature and there are no overt religious overtones.
Christian activist groups can buy newspaper advertisements but usually only in English newspapers and not every year.
In 2004, the government organized a national-level Christmas celebration. However, there is an unofficial ban on all Christian religious symbols and hymns that specifically mention Jesus Christ.
Talk about taking the Christ out of Christmas.
The event was organized by the Arts, Culture and Heritage ministry, the government of the state of Selangor and the Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM).
A former lawyer turned Jesuit priest and director of the Catholic Research Centre lodged a formal complaint. He stated that “To exclude carols and to use (Christmas) for political gain is outrageous, scandalous and sacrilegious.” He also said, “To call it a cultural event (as rationalized by Christian politicians who are more politician than Christian) is to downgrade Jesus to a cultural stage such as Confucius.”
CFM general secretary Rev Dr. Hermen Shastri said the government wanted “nothing that insults Islam” during the open house.
Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister said that there is “nothing wrong in singing songs such as Silent Night and Merry Christmas” as they are “joyous songs for the festival”.
Lee Min Choon, legal advisor to the CFM and the National Evangelical Christian Fellowship issued a statement which said “It means that churches can celebrate Christmas as they have been doing all along. Otherwise, the very meaning of the occasion will be lost.” “Now, everybody should take the government at its word and celebrate Christmas the way they normally celebrate and express their religious faith.”
Sounds to me like Christmas in Malaysia is still up for grabs.
How will you celebrate Christmas?