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Friday, October 22, 2010

A Budget for Poor Lazarus?

Now there was a certain rich man, and he was clothed in purple and fine linen, living in luxury every day. A certain beggar, named Lazarus, was laid at his gate, full of sores, and desiring to be fed with the crumbs that fell from the rich man's table. Yes, even the dogs came and licked his sores.

It happened that the beggar died, and that he was carried away by the angels to Abraham's bosom. The rich man also died, and was buried. In Hades, he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and saw Abraham far off, and Lazarus at his bosom. He cried and said, "Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue! For I am in anguish in this flame."

But Abraham said, "Son, remember that you, in your lifetime, received your good things, and Lazarus, in the same way, bad things. But now here he is comforted and you are in anguish. Besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, that those who want to pass from here to you are not able, and that none may cross over from there to us."

He said, "I ask you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father's house; for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, so they won't also come into this place of torment."

But Abraham said to him, "They have Moses and the prophets. Let them listen to them."

He said, "No, father Abraham, but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent."

He said to him, "If they don't listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if one rises from the dead."
– Luke 16:19–31, World English Bible

Budget 2011 was never a people’s budget. It’s really for “a certain rich” strata of society who has all the fine things in life. Their everyday wants and needs have been taken care off by the numerous blood sucking” systems without a care for tomorrow. I think we can recognize these groups of people in Malaysia. Can you name some of them?

Not only are they well connected but they are also well protected. From the Executive arm to the AG chambers the powers that be continues to feed them thru various means (nepotism, cronyism, back door appointments, money politics, patronage system, corruption etc) and gets the rich to become richer & bolder but the poor poorer.

The high society of today continues to usurp and be blind to the plight of modern day Lazarus and their intention is to grab whatever that is left from the men and women on the street. Look at PLUS Highway & EPF, 100 storey Heritage Tower & PNB etc.

We could have used this money to build low cost houses for the needy or give scholarship to our poor students. This is what Affirmative Action really is!!!

But as we can see, most of the allocation in this Budget will be or has been given to their families and the well connected cronies of the powerful.

At the end of the day it doesn’t really matter what happens to Lazarus or what he feels as he is always kept at the wayside and fringes of society – was laid at the gate.” He has neither a voice nor connection to pull any strings except to wait till kingdom comes!

Today’s the rakyat were only given “crumbs” from the budget which doesn’t make much of a difference in our lives.

The Lazarus of today are left to fend for themselves and were in no way taken into account in the BN government plans to become a high income country whatever that means to you.

Who are the modern day Lazarus? Where is he/she today? They are considered to be the Least, the Last and the Lost of our society.

In this parable the rich had no name given by Jesus except Lazarus. Do you know who are they or their names?

And do you know what their daily struggles are like? Is it the dubious inflation rate of 2-4%, high cost of living & food, sense of alienation, hopelessness for the future, children’s education, medical, transportation, bills to pay etc. 

Somehow it bothers all of us that this budget gave low or no priority to the majority of people who are struggling for their day to day bread. It’s never a rakyat’s budget after all. It’s a complete farce to all thinking and feeling Malaysians!

But does that mean it’s wrong to be rich? Absolutely no. If not, what is Abraham doing in heaven with Lazarus? As Scriptures says, Abraham was a very rich men with livestock, silver and gold (Gen 13:2).

Does the end justify the means? Well, this is something for all of us to reflect upon.

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