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Cutting to the chase for better relations

Well, Christmas is over and we can start to pull ourselves, our home and our goals back together.

I’m not going to say a thing about new resolutions and post holiday season flab; at least not this week. Life is grim enough in cookieless January without piling on all that guilt. Instead, I’m making this column entertaining and lighthearted. If I offend your sensibilities, forgive my plebeian taste.

Recent news from home mentioned that Malaysia, my country of birth and home till I was 25 years old, is considering using mass circumcision ceremonies to promote racial harmony.

Circumcision is a rite of passage for young Muslim boys, and in Malaysia it is common for the ceremony to become an event with dozens, or even hundreds of boys being circumcised together.

When Tom’s parents visited Malaysia for the first time in 1975, their daughter-in-law and son took them to a circumcision party.

We didn’t tell them it was a circumcision party for fear that they would turn down the golden opportunity for a wee cross-cultural education. Nothing in the first couple hours indicated anything but village folks gathering to eat and make merry.

When some dozen boys ranging in age from 10 to 12 were ushered out and seated astraddle a half dozen banana tree trunks, the party atmosphere continued its benign nature. Only when the village elder extracted the ceremonial blade and the boys lifted their sarongs did the gravity of the cross-cultural experience sink in.

Now, according to my source, the country’s prime minister’s religious affairs adviser has suggested that circumcision can bring Malaysians of all races and religions together. He said that, because of the growing popularity of circumcision among the country’s non-Muslim minorities — who see it as good hygienic practice, they too could be invited to join in the celebration with their Muslim friends.

He believes the idea could promote race relations and he wants to see a nationwide circumcision ceremony organized.

In the way of background — over half of Malaysia’s population is Muslim, mainly members of the ethnic Malay community, while the country’s Chinese, Tamil and tribal peoples follow a variety of other faiths. The government has been exploring ways of stopping the different groups from drifting apart.

I’ll have to ask my young grandnephews in Malaysia what they think of the religious affairs advisor’s idea. If you think the post-holiday blues are hard to contend with, think again. There are 9-year-old Malaysian boys waiting to trade places with you.

I suppose in other cultures, snowmobiling with one’s father may be considered a rite of passage.

Use of snowmobiles in Pagosa Lakes

Recently, the association has received a handful of complaints about snowmobiles in the neighborhoods.

Please be aware that, as a general rule, the Pagosa Lakes neighborhoods are not legal places to operate snowmobiles.

Most of the property in any given neighborhood is private property owned by others and unless you have their permission to enter upon their property you are technically trespassing.

Additionally, the greenbelts and open spaces of Pagosa Lakes, a total of 1,300 acres, are only available to non-motorized recreational uses like hiking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.

It is legal to snowmobile on your own property if you comply with all county noise laws.

If you would like more information about snowmobiling, visit the Pagosa Ranger District office located in downtown Pagosa Springs. They have maps that show in detail where it is safe and legal to snowmobile in the Pagosa area of the San Juan National Forest. Many of those areas are very close to Pagosa Lakes.

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