Saturday, October 06, 2007

Once a Malaysian, always a Malaysian

Saturday, 6 October 2007

I found this scribbled at the back page. I had copied it from the MAS Inflight magazine. It was related to Malaysia's 50th Year Independence (31 August 2007). My spirit confirmed "Once a Malaysian, always a Malaysian". The phrase drove deep into my soul.

Getting forgetful as more white hair appear on my head, I better blog this before I forget what I have been feeling about that phrase. I hope I had copied the whole quotation correctly.

Here goes:
Once a Malaysian, always a Malaysian. It's the little things we treasure in our hearts that make us who we are, uniquely Malaysian. Let's celebrate 50 years of the fabulous Malaysian spirit. Let's celebrate together. Let's fly Malaysia!

Let's fly Malaysia - Yes, definitely I will fly Malaysia Airlines, if the price continues to be affordable for me!

What are the little things that we treasure in our hearts that make us who we are, uniquely Malaysian?

I don't know what little things MAS are referring to. Personally, the little things that I treasure are living harmoniously in a multi-racial community, respecting each other's differences.

My parents lived in a semi-detached bungalow when I was a small girl. Our neighbour next door was a Malay family. The 2 families living in the bungalow opposite us were Malay too. The 2 families living in the bungalow at the back of us were Indian and Iban. The families living in the bangalow across the side of the road, adjacent to us, were Iban and Chinese.

There were no fence between the bungalows. Families visited each other and talked to each other freely, oblivious of the indifference of the other person's dressing. Mother was in her traditional Chinese 2 piece pyjamas (there is a Chinese word for that but I don't know what it is in English!) while our neighbour was in her Malay 2-piece baju kurung.

Come Hari Raya celebration we would visit our Muslim neighbours and other Muslim friends in the small town. The same goes to Gawai Dayak, where we would visit our Land and Sea Dayak friends. Come Deepavali we visited an Indian friend of Dad. Christmas is when we get to visit our Christians friends, who could be Ibans, Bidayuhs, Melanaus, Chinese. And of course Chinese New Year celebration, our house are opened for our neighbours to visit us.

I could still recall my parents' friend joining us for the Chinese New Year Eve dinner year after year. He was Dad's working colleague. He was single and alone in the town, so my parents invited him to join us each year on this conspicous dinner. When he didn't come one year, I asked my parents where he was. They said he has a wife now and has moved away. That was why! My parents have taught me that you don't have to be rich to reach out to others. Just be thoughtful and kind to others, whatever they are and share whatever you have.

Regardless of the different races, the 2 primary schools in Lutong welcomed all races. I went to the primary school whereby English language was the medium of instruction. Mandarin was the medium of instruction in the other primary school, which saw increase of the number of non-Chinese children studying there each year. I am impressed whenever I hear a non-Chinese speaking Mandarin and much better than I could!

My school friends, are made of different races: Chinese, Malays, Ibans, Kelabits, Indians, Kadazans, Melanaus, etc. etc. I started having caucasian friends when I started working. My neighbours in Miri are Malays, Kayans, Ibans, Bedayuh, Mulut, Chinese, etc.

What I treasure is the friendliness, hospitality and warmth of my fellow Malaysians. We can mingle with each other peacefully anywhere - be it official, business, casual - be it on the Malaysian ground or outside in another country. And not forgetting the tolerance that we have for each other's cultures and beliefs.

Born in Malaysia. Lived in Malaysia for half a century. There are definitely things uniquely Malaysian that I will always treasure in my heart.

1 comment:

Milky Bar Kid said...

Thank you for sharing this with us all. You are a Great Blogger, Good Person and a Best Mum too!
Oh, and have a good Halow'een.