Monday, April 02, 2007

Water - gift of God, grief of man

There are three things that mankind can’t do without – air, sun and water, which may explain why the ancients worshipped the three in various forms.

In fact, the world’s first monotheism was worship of the Sun as the one and only God. Pharaoh Akhenaten* of the Middle Kingdom dynasty may be said to be the first person to start monotheistic worship, that of the Aten, represented by a sun disk.

* remember this name – I’ve a few things to say about him in future postings

Leaving aside the Sun, which we can do bugger about, as it will burn itself and eventually expand to make Earth uninhabitable in around 4 to 5 billion years time, and the air which we persist in polluting, as well as through deforestation, etc, reduce Earth’s ability to cleanse it, there leaves the only one item within our immediate and practical control – water.

It has been said that the day is soon arriving when water will be worth more than oil or even gold in weight.

We are getting more drinkers (increased population, agriculture and industry, apart from selling our natural heritage to a nearby country) and more pollution but less available drinkable water – or more correctly, less of the traditional sources of drinkable water – and not collecting and storing water when it’s in its bountiful availability.

There is now a growing awareness and fear in many countries that we have left it a wee too late, but nonetheless a vital issue to work on immediately before the water scarcity gets worse.

So what do we do in recent times?

We privatise out water resources (of course apart from pawning some of it off to Singapore while in public we make much ado about getting an equal return from the skinflints down south – bloody hypocrites, aren’t we?)

It seems that Hermen Shastri, general secretary of the Council of Churches of Malaysia’s (CCM) has now urged church leaders to object to the privatisation of water at the expense of the people.

OK, that’s not so bad, and I would support it as well.

Shastri and the other panelists who spoke on the perspective of Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism as well as Orang Asli spiritual beliefs in relation to water, were unanimous in objecting to restricting access to water, especially to the poor, based merely on profit considerations.

Again I have no problems with this, and again I support it.

Then he also called for religious leaders in the country to apply the teachings of their respective scriptures on water and declare their opposition to the ‘profit-isation’ of the natural resource.

He sermonised: “Water was created by God as a gift for all people.”

Hey, but so was land.

Now, I don’t feel comfortable about invoking the Holy Scriptures to score a political point. If we resort to the Holy Books so as to quote from them to impress upon our incompetent political managers not to privatise water, we would become what we criticise PAS or the American Christian Right for.

Lobbying or putting thr pressure on the government to stop the privatisation of water is a political process and done through the ballot box or protestations. Let's keep religion out of politics.


  1. amen to that, ktemoc.
    next, may be we shall keep the religion out of state/government?

  2. hmmm, but then think think again, but holy word is invoked to say for the issues like corruption, equality, helping the poor, and etc, can it count as scoring a political point?

  3. for many, religion is supposedly the 'head of authority' or model or inspiration ofr ethics, which is related to the issue of honesty and corruption.

    But privatisation of water?

    Leaving aside expectations of Malaysian worst practice, is privatisation corruption per se?