Fear is sheer wastefulness

THEY say, "face your fears and live your dreams". From the recent hullabaloo over nothing, it is apparent that we have turned out to be a society living in constant insecurity. We feed our fears with the worst possibilities, we teach ourselves to be afraid of fear and in the process we become frail and vulnerable.

We feel everything around us – people and events are there to jeopardise our position and well-being. The mysterious force behind fear is driving us towards panic and we need to overcome this, consciously and seriously.

While the organisers of Better Beer Festival claim that they had the right to the event as it had been an annual do, the naysayers think it is an affair that will encroach into some religious beliefs.

Both sides seem to be speaking through the media and neither party is taking the initiative to negotiate a fair solution to avoid confrontation. It is a myth that we need to be confrontational.

To be able to negotiate, we have to strip ourselves of ego and superiority complex and remove the pre-determined conception that winning is the ultimate goal. Rather, we should always seek out win-win solutions to all issues. Resolving rather than winning should be the objective.

We seem to be existing in a flawed belief that winning an argument is a sign of strength and superiority but it may be otherwise. It takes a stronger resolve to take a loss as a stepping stone to something grander and more positive.

The 200-year-old tradition of Oktoberfest starts on the third weekend of September, and ends on the first Sunday of October. This year, the festival began on Sept 16 and finishes on Oct 3.

Malaysia might have missed the boat, but there is always next year and the organisers will probably need to work harder with sufficient time given for the permits to be issued. More importantly, they need to categorically allay the symptomatic fears in the relevant parties.

Just a brief background to the fest. When Bavarian Crown Prince Louis, later King Louis I of Bavaria, married Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen, the Bavarian royalty invited the citizens of Munich to attend the festivities held on the fields in front of the city gates. These famous public fields were named Theresienwies, Therese's fields, in honour of the crown princess; although locals have since abbreviated the name simply to the "Wies'n".
Horse races in the presence of the royal family concluded the popular event, celebrated in varying forms all across Bavaria.

The decision to repeat the festivities and the horse races in the subsequent year gave rise to the tradition of the annual Oktoberfest. Alcohol consumption is an important part of the modern festival, and more than 1 million gallons of beer are consumed annually at Oktoberfest. No doubt, over time the event has evolved into or is seen as a "beer event" and is celebrated globally.

Let us put a different view to beer-drinking; it is a beverage like any other. The problem is when it is abused and taken in large quantities. Just as drugs are used in the medical field, when it is abused it becomes self-destructive.

While I know of friends who travelled to Germany where the festival can be best seen and enjoyed, party goers here have been left salivating.

The ban has brought together vociferous voices, regardless of religious leanings, speaking out against the ban. With this, I thought we are not doing so badly on the unity front, after all.

I remember one speaker who said, "Allow people who want to drink to drink, those who don't drink, don't need to drink", a simple logic and yet the whole thing has gone around virally wrong.

I am neither promoting the fest nor supporting it, but it worries me to see the country being divided more and more on religious leanings.

Simultaneously, the National Day and Malaysia Day celebrations saw loads of advertisements showing racial unity. These prompted some to ask: "Is it only good on paper and print?" It is common to see various races jumbled together in the advertisements, but is it a far cry from reality?

The world is watching us with envy, our unity has always been an element of awe and curiosity rolled into one. It is surprising that even BBC has decided that the news of the ban warranted international acclaim.

Can't we live and let live in peace?

Comments: letters@thesundaily.com