“I don’t like Chinese people. They’re dirty. They eat pork. I don’t even want to get close to them. Disgusting!” – Said a Malay boy (approximately 14-16 years old) to his friends during tuition (A friend of mine shared)
“Why don’t you want to sit beside them? Are you afraid that they will stink? You know, don’t think that Malays don’t understand Chinese!” – Said a girl (perhaps between 9 – 11 years old) while arguing with her sister about seats in the cinema. Both my boyfriend and I were sitting beside them as they spoke loudly in Mandarin (to which I was fluent in).
“Dad! Don’t press Malay, we’re not Malays!” – Said a young girl (6-8 year old) to her father as they pay the parking ticket at the ticket machine. (A friend of mine shared)
“Oh, so you’re Christian, which means you eat pork then. That’s so dirty!” – Said my cousin who at the time was only 9.
I always thought that the new generation of Malaysians would not repeat their parents’ mistakes. After all, we are living in an era of Internet and information, of Facebook and Twitter, the least you would expect is for the generation to preach love as we get more close and connected with one another. But no.
Kids idolize their parents. They follow everything their parents’ say, which is great, but I worry the things these parents say sometimes. I can’t blame them though. When you live in so much fear or inferiority, you tend to want to ‘protect’ yourself by imposing some useful survival skills to your family and yourself.
“The only way to survive is to be prepared,” One friend said.
True. But did this ‘preparation’ bring you any where? No. So the best you can do is allow your child to mingle with everyone, be friends with everyone. Stop the stereotype. Stop the hate. Yes, there is so much hate in you right now, there is so much fear that you as a race will fall, but you won’t. Nobody can make you fall if you don’t want to. The only way for you to secure your position is to be ONE with everybody.
1Malaysia may be a propaganda, but its basic idea is beautiful beyond words. It’s ironic how our leaders who introduced the idea of 1Malaysia are also the same leaders who are against the integration of society by constantly reminding our place.
“In Malaysia, we have Malay, Chinese, Indian and more. We are 1Malaysia.”
If we are one, why the need to voice out all individual ethnicity? To show variety? To be proud of this variety? No. That’s not how you do it. The idea of being ONE is so beautiful, why the need to list us down to show the difference when you can just say, multi-racial, Malaysia being one race. And yet here you are being angry at us for not being MALAYSIA FIRST, MALAY/CHINESE/INDIAN/OTHERS SECOND.
That’s because it’s hard to not identify us by race. Our history has fucked us up so bad that we HAVE to justify our what we are to be treated how we should be treated. I hate meeting people and being obliged to tell them what I am so that they would have an idea how to treat me.
“Oh, you’re Chinese! Here, let me give you discount. Chinese must help Chinese mah!”
“When I interview Malays, I try to help them as much I could. We help our own kind succeed, if not, who else would help us?”
This is the reality that Malaysia is facing right now, what all societies are facing in the world. It’s a sad truth, but a real one and we need to change this starting from our children.
Malaysia is not messed up yet, believe me. There are many of us, albeit not a big number, who accepts variety and differences. We embrace the multi-cultural, multi-lingual, multi-racial side of Malaysia. There are many of us who speak Malay, different dialects of Chinese, English, different dialects of Indian language (pardon my term ‘Indian language’ as there is no such thing as that. Just wanted to group everything together under one name), different ethnic languages etc…
It is all thanks to our parents who preach love and not hate, which in turn makes us more aware of our surrounding and society. We are not ignorant bigots. We are not fools. We are not afraid. We are ONE and it is a ‘ONE’ that is not told to us by the politicians, but a ‘ONE’ that is learned through years of practice of hating, of loving, of understanding… It is the ‘ONE’ that is true and sincere.
If I have one suggestions for all Malaysian parents out there, it would be to send your child to language school. Learn Chinese or Tamil or other languages. I find that the first step to being ONE is by learning each others’ languages.
I went to a Chinese school as a child and it has helped me tremendously in breaking boundaries. People are extremely impressed and accept you when you speak their language. They appreciate that. Stop thinking that once you speak their language, you become them. That’s a whole lot of bullcrap. That is what unintelligent people say because they’re bigots.
Last Ramadhan, I witness something extremely beautiful. I was at a Ramadhan bazaar when I saw a Malay vendor, a young man of probably 17, speaking Mandarin to a Chinese couple. The Chinese couple was incredibly impressed with him and was complimenting him constantly of his extremely fluent Chinese and ordered extra food. The husband then said, “Wa… It’s so good that you can speak Chinese. I wish many would be like you, it’s so easy to understand each other this way. (To his mother) You are very lucky to have a boy who can speak Chinese. He will go far.” The young man blushed while his mother beamed.
You don’t see that everyday.
Teach your child to preach love, not hate.