Tuesday, August 01, 2006

M and Ms and What's Faith Got To Do With It?

M and Ms. Melt in your mouth, not on your bike.

OK, I'm finally getting over this second bout of flu-fever thing. Just in time to brush up some stuff for the recital on Saturday, for which thankfully most of the stuff has been sorted out.

The Messiah project in KL was... interesting. Musically it was not bad really, other than some dynamics which were more the result of acoustics than ensemble. What was a little odd was the regular prayer sessions at the end or the beginning of rehearsals, and the invitation for further donations at the end of the concert.


Well, first of all, I should state that I went for the music and the music was not bad. And if they have a lot of faith or what they think is faith, then you know, good for them. After all, there were something like 800 congregation members who auditioned for the some 200 chorus positions, and I dunno if they were paid, but they certainly had to fork out RM75 per person to buy the music - that's a cool 15 grand, man.


It makes one wonder about what we really mean by freedom of religion. Imposing prayer sessions - albeit indirectly, but then again also in a language some of us don't even understand - has to cross some line. Not to mention suggesting in the program notes that Haendel's choice of the Lutheran to which he was born into instead of the Catholic, made him or his music greater in some way. Let's be fair here, the home ground always has the advantage, it being in this case what you're born to.

Of course, the same goes to official Malaysian functions like prayer sessions at convocations, one might argue, and argue validly, except that in those cases we're sort of jaded with the idea by now, and silence is more not making trouble rather than an actual respect for those who first of all think that religion got them a first class second class upper degree.

The worst part of it is that the apparently most fervent of the faithful tend to make it difficult for the rest of them, irregardless of what particular faith we're talking about. Because there are plenty who have their own faith and somehow realise that faith really is a personal thing. Interestingly enough, these are the ones who tend to come out with more than degrees.

In another not related, but yes indirectly interesting note, I came across this link about a diocese in the States which is in bankrupcy proceedings due to sexual abuse compensation. From what I hear from elsewhere, the Vatican originally did help out financially, but after a point let the American churches handle it as their own problem, because the money of the Vatican comes from a lot of sources, including some very poor dioceses in Africa who don't donate for purposes such as those.

OK, this is a little on the dark side, but I found it interesting that in the bishop's schedule there was a "barbecue for priests".

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