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I cried, as a Malaysian.

Sunday 29th August 2010

The whole is so much more than the sum of its parts, stresses How Zean Shiung, our Nkabomer from Malaysia.

It is in the air. There are no disputes about it. You can feel it. You read news about it. You heard most recently, of a bunch of a certain race, accusing another man of their own ethnicity, calling him a traitor of their kind. What for you asked? For not ‘fighting’ and ‘standing along’ his ‘’own’ people. Too vague? How about when there were boar heads thrown into sacred mosques one night? Followed by homemade Molotovs burning churches the next evening? What about Hindraf human rights protest rallies, whom in the end were arrested without any criminal charges, without trials, without even a specified term of detention? There have always been signs everywhere, just this time too significant to ignore.

I just cannot understand why, after 50 years of co-existence, fellow Malaysians remember and keep in mind that I am Malay and I have to fight for the Malays, fight along with my fellow kind. I try to inquire further, fight against whom? Is it against the Chinese? The Indians? Or maybe even the Ibans, Kadazans, Muruts? No one is sure. And no one is allowed to give an answer because our Law won’t let us. They say forceful silence is justified. In the name of justice and peace, they can arrest without trial, they can detain for unspecified lengths and without criminal charges. They tell us it reflects their devotion towards keeping peace. Here, silence keeps everything in mystery, and mystery is the way things are meant to be.

So along the way, we tell ourselves that there are no such racial tensions. There are no ‘diversity’ problems existing in Malaysia. Unlike in the USA or in China, dozens of races coexist peacefully together. Otherwise, wouldn’t there be people publicly voicing the contradictory opinion? Why aren’t there protests? Up to this point, the whole dilemma is actually in thick mist, I am confused, because it seems that we simply can’t call ourselves Malaysians and Indians or Chinese or Malay at the same time. There are faint voices. There are cries and tears. There is always that indisputable feeling of hatred, suspicion and speculation of racial discrimination. Why be that arrogant fool apathetic enough to ignore these threats to your beloved nation?! It reminds me of the ostrich, the mockery brought upon by Ice Age 3, a perfect analogy of our situation now. (The part where the ostriches buried their heads into the ground while this baby ostrich knocked its head instead because he couldn’t dig hard enough…)

The Malaysian in me cried. I was raised to analyse and solve problems. I was raised to live in peace. But there are crucial problems impeding peace – what is worse, however, is that these problems are blanketed over with the sheepskin of peace. Does peace means silence? If silence brings temporary peace, should this silence be retained? If prolonged silence is a time bomb which terror it instills is no less terrifying than any war about to break, is this silence still a peace-keeper? There is no inner peace, there will not be until we are given a voice to bravely shout our problems out loud, our concerns out loud, our worries out loud. For the very effort we make these shouting shows that we care and we love, that we, after all wish to resolve the problems together, eliminate what is instilling hatred, speculations, discriminations. We after all, fight, for true peace.

Seeing the nation I love and have great faith in breaking into pieces, I realize this: progress can never come along until we start forgetting which race are we born into, what spectrum of skin we are coloured with, what race I belong to … not until, putting aside all our differences, we start calling ourselves Malaysians!

When racial issues arise, whether they are discreetly pushed under the table or make front-page news, no one is more hurt or injured than Malaysians as a whole. Fighting with other races, or even with other political parties because of their different race dominations simply reveals how immature all of us are. And I mean all of us – not any discrete party or race. It is like the right arm hitting the left leg: in the end, the body – all of us as a collective whole – gets hurt.

The point is simple: if we keep fighting this way, we can never take a same step, follow the same path and progress as ONE. The left hand must start working in collaboration with the right, and the right leg must walk in orientation with the left. Inevitably, every body part is different and has its own specialty. And this difference should be cherished and celebrated, for it makes us unique and stronger. When the left brain can calculate better, and the right can create artistically, they work together to be ONE better person! We call ourselves the wisest species on earth, but we can’t see simple theories and inculcate simple daily actions in co-existence within ONE nation.

So we as Malaysians must start helping another Malaysian as ONE Malaysia. I applaud the governmental policy and idea of 1Malaysia but I plead them to put words into practice. 1Malaysia is not about harvesting the best in physical developments and achievements but to stick to one another, forgetting that I am a Chinese and that he is an Indian and that you are a Malay and start knowing each other as Malaysians. That, is the true spirit of 1Malaysia and with this, holistic development and all-rounded achievements come along in a package. So stop walking up to a Malay and say, “Hey, you are a Malay too. So we should help each other!” “Hey, Chinese mah, own people! Must help Chinese!” These thoughts simply act as the greatest deterrents to unification as 1Malaysia, living Malaysian. The first step towards this, I believe, is that our fellow politicians, aspired and promised to lead by example… they need bigger mirrors!

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