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International Day of Peace Celebrated in Malaysia

Ipoh, Malaysia - People from all walks of life met at the UN International Day of Peace program at the Kinta Riverfront Hotel in Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia on Sept. 21, 2014.

As the world is becoming increasingly disunited and wars are flaring in various parts of the world, UPF-Malaysia called attention to the need for peace, stating that although the road ahead will be long, the climb steep, and the process long, one day we will get there. Some people vehemently responded to the invitation to an International Day of Peace celebration, protesting, “What kind of peace are you talking about when the whole world is in disaster and disarray?”

The program brought about 250 people together transcending class, religion, age, gender and, most of all, ethnicity, seeking to foster love among all people. UPF envisions that one day Ipoh, Malaysia’s fourth-largest city, will be a center of peace that emanates in all directions.

The afternoon program included multi-religious prayers for peace by representatives of five major religions, including Islam, and an interfaith water ceremony to demonstrate unity and interfaith harmony. There were also presentations by people of the major ethnic groups in Malaysia: Malay, Chinese and Indian.

The aspect that touched the hearts of everyone present was a performance by the Perak Society for the Promotion of Mental Health. Despite their impairment, they fascinated the crowd.

The main speakers were the Chairman of UPF-Perak Mr. Joseph Thambiah; the President of UPF-Malaysia Tan Sri Dr. Devaki Krishnan; the Guest of Honor Chief Minister of Perak, represented by former Deputy Minister Dato S. Veerasingam; and the Secretary General UPF-Malaysia Rev. Sam Yeoh Koay Seng.

Mr. Thambiah began by saying that the International Day of Peace is recognized by the United Nations as a day of non-violence and that the UN has done much for world peace. There is no recipe for peace, he said, and then suggested some practical personal steps for creating and building peace, such as sharing experiences and hopes for peace, reading positive news media, supporting organizations working to effect positive change in the world, and engaging in productive dialogue with others. He added that only truly religious people can stand up to the unrighteousness and evil of the world and practice true love.

Dato Veerasingam asserted that this year’s theme “The Right of Peoples to Peace” gives firm impetus for nations around the world to ensure peace for the sake of the continuity of humanity. He said that countries in which there is conflict are vulnerable to civil war and social disintegration. Conflict arises when people cannot resolve differences of interests and ideologies but instead seek to exercise power over each other, often leading to war. He urged all people in the state of Perak, irrespective of political, ethnic and religious divisions, to work together for the benefit of the state and to ensure that Perak remains prosperous.

Tan Sri Krishnan highlighted some points about peace and gave practical examples of how peace can be encouraged within the family, especially in the upbringing of children. She talked at great length about forgiveness as an ingredient that promotes peace and love. She gave the illustration of the Biblical story of the Prodigal Son who squandered his father’s wealth in a foreign land; the father forgave him when he came back home and asked for forgiveness. She emphasized that one of the essentials in life is forgiveness which leads to peace.

In his closing remarks, Mr. Seng congratulated UPF Perak for its excellent work and said that he was inspired by the commitment shown by the working committee.

After the events of the day, the guests were invited to high tea and encouraged to make new friends. Journalists were present, and the event was reported in several local newspapers.

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