Respecting the community we live in means a responsibility to stem the rise of social issues resulting from alcoholism. I don’t think only Muslims and Malays acknowledge and uphold this. REUTERS pic

RESPECTING the community we live in means a responsibility to stem the rise of social issues resulting from alcoholism. I don’t think only Muslims and Malays acknowledge and uphold this.

I refer to the letter “Respect the community we live in” by
Tan Sri M. Kayveas (NST, Sept 30).

Notwithstanding the social ills that take root in our community, we choose to close our eyes and let them aggravate without reining in any negative influences detrimental to our younger generation.

Like drugs, alcohol is prone to abuse and often becomes a gateway to other illicit substances, such as ecstasy or heroin. Not having a beer festival because of a fear of terrorist attacks is one thing, but we should fear more the attack of alcohol abuse on the mental health of our future leaders.

Ironically, many of us express outrage over child abuse by alcoholic parents or a young innocent girl being gang-raped after a booze party.

Is this the best reaction we can give?

Despite being cognisant of the intolerable damage alcohol abuse brings, we accuse the authorities of infringing on non-Muslims’ rights.

Maybe some feel these tragic events only happen to others while our lives go on la dolce vita. Imagine if we were to change “The Better Beer Festival” to “The Better Drugs Festival”, I believe our community, irrespective of race and religion, will be fighting against it, no matter how great the advertisement.

Regardless of holding the event in public or private spaces with security measures, there is always a risk of someone circumventing the regulations in place. In other words, can we really trust them not to defy the law?

Let us go beyond Malaysia’s multiracial background and take a look at the United Kingdom. According to a report conducted by the University of Sheffield’s Alcohol Research Group, alcohol consumption, over the next five years, will cause 63,000 deaths due to heavy drinking.

These alcoholics are believed to have succumbed to painful and emotionally harrowing liver disease. This will cost the National Health Service RM93.07 billion. The price is this: disease, death and health costs.

The warning of a terrorist attack echoes that of the Oktoberfest bombing on Sept 26, 1980, in Germany, with a right-wing radical killing 13 people and injuring 219, many losing limbs.

The attack was attributed to a right-wing extremist student, Gundolf Köhler, who placed an explosive device at the site of the festival.

Of course, there has been no such untoward incident in our country. However, we cannot deny the fact that terrorist attacks have happened elsewhere in Southeast Asia and can happen here.

The banning of the Better Beer Festival 2017 by the authorities is the right thing to do and not about showing disrespect for the community we live in.

Love it or hate it, social problems will not only beset non-Muslims and non-Malays; they affect everyone. Live well, and, as the saying goes, prevention is better than cure.

Abang Affendi

Kuala Lumpur

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