the story of the elephants
before i entered primary school, i remembered my grandfather telling me – make sure you find a seat next to a chinese. don’t sit next to a malay or an indian.
on my first day of school i found a seat next to the prettiest girl i could find. she had a my little twin star bag, long black hair and rosy cheeks. i didn’t know if she was malay, or chinese or indian- she was just the most beautiful girl i have seen and ever since i was young – i knew i love beautiful things. thank god that interest graduated to men and clothes and not women..
malaysia – my home. we have been independent from british colonial rule since 1957. i am the fourth generation of chinese descent. my great grandparents were sold to malaya as slaves ( malaysia’s old name) at turn of the 1900s. my grandfather was born in malaya in 1922 and my grandma was born in 1929.
to the world, we are known as a multi-racial society. most of us speak 3 to 4 different languages. we are very special people. we have absorbed the cultural sensitivity of being with people who different from us.
the british adopted a type of ruling system for malaya. it was called divide and rule. they kept the chinese as merchants, the malays on the farms and the indians in the rubber estates.
now my fellow malaysians. we need to stop talking about races. we need to stop talking about our differences. i don’t think we should even use the word multi-racial as an adjective to describe our country. this is because when we talk about how different we, it amplifies how different we are. if you look at all the countries in the world – from london to nyc. they are more culturally infused than us.
a person not from london, after one generation becomes english. why are we still talking about where we were from? i don’t know anything about being chinese chinese.. i only know how to be malaysian.
the old people like my grandparents are dead. it’s time to start rowing this boat as one. not as three groups of people but as one.
someone told me how elephants are trained in thailand- when baby elephants were young, they tie them to big tree trunks, they grow up thinking i’d never be able to escape. even when they grow older and their legs are tied to twigs. they still think the same.
i hope you think about that and apply it in all aspects of your life.
to all my muslim friends – salam aidilfitri.