It is a great pleasure to extend Deepavali greetings to all our Hindu friends in Malaysia and around the world. The “Festival of Lights” symbolizes the victory of good over evil within every human being, a struggle we engage in every day. And today, it’s time to celebrate our success.
Hindus began yesterday’s celebrations with morning prayers at temples and continued through the day with visits to each other’s Rumah Terbuka – a uniquely Malaysian holiday practice of showing goodwill and neighbourliness by opening our homes to visitors.
As I do during every major holiday in Malaysia, I look forward to these open houses, their generosity, and the opportunity they present to explore the variety of perspective Malaysians provide. I very much enjoyed the Deepavali Open House at PWTC Kuala Lumpur and would like to thank the organisers for a gracious welcome.
A few days ago, I visited Brickfields in Kuala Lumpur and was immersed in the festive spirit and celebrative mood of the Indian community as they prepared for the holiday. In addition to lending my support to their plans to establish a Little India and learning a thing or two about the latest Deepavali trends, I was reacquainted with the variety of colours, aroma, and hustle and bustle of the Deepavali spirit.
Despite the obvious distinctions from Muslim or Chinese celebrations, I recognised the familiarity of the holiday anticipation, joy, and generosity we all share from the oldest to the youngest and in all our communities. In this, I was again reminded of how fortunate we Malaysians are and how important it is that the many good continue to struggle against the evil few.
It is unfortunate that those few continue their work to destroy our long held triumph over the evils of intolerance, suspicion, and greed. It is important that, in the traditional Deepavali struggle, we individually continue to foster benevolence and unity and demand that our society and government do the same. Only through this effort can we maintain and expand the relationships that promote security, development, and prosperity.
On this Deepavali, let us recall the struggle of our fathers and forefathers and their climb from pre-Independence to the prosperity and peace of modern Malaysia. Let us pursue mutual understanding and a united Malaysia one Malaysia drawing strength from our wealth of cultural diversity. Let us consider the balance of good and evil in our words and deeds and practice the discipline necessary to allow good to triumph.
Let us remind ourselves how lucky we are as Malaysians and how fortunate we are to have other Malaysians from all walks of life at our side working toward a stronger, more peaceful tomorrow.