Okay, my knowledge of Malaysian politics isn't any more superior than the next person in the room. I am probably quite apathetic and a little outdated at times. I do not know the faces of our politicians, I do not know who's who in the leadership...I wasn't even sure who or how powerful the guy who presented me with my degree was.
But then, I read a piece of news on Malaysiakini, and tears sprung out. I felt despair more than anger at how things have gone this far in Malaysia. My premise is simple. I am a person born in Malaysia to persons born in Malaysia, whose parents were born in Malaysia. Malaysia x3 makes me pretty damn well Malaysian. To me, this is home. Even though I am Chinese by heritage, I do not identify with China. It is just a mystical land on the map where so many people of my skin colour, culture and language left and found homes elsewhere. The Chinese diaspora is well-known. Some of my mother's family sailed to America, some ended up closer to home in Hong Kong. And then my great-grandparents inadvertently arrived here. Diaspora - it is translated from Greek to mean 'the scattering or sowing of seeds'. And I am one of the plants sprung from these seeds - sheltered, nurtured and conditioned by my new environment, thus every minute change in this environment will affect the seedlings.
"Remember! The patience of Malays and Muslims has its limits. Do not push us to the wall, where we will be forced to reject the Chinese for the sake of our survival" - Ahmad Ismail
Statements like that creates fear in me. He wins. I am scared. On most days, knowing my Malay friends and people I meet from day-to-day life, I know without a doubt Malays will lay down their lives to defend us, their fellow Malaysians. I know, I have heard it being expressed sincerely, that while we are not colour-blind, because in truth we are *NOT*, many would ignore that fact, choosing only to see the ultimate truth, that we're all in this together, we're all Malaysians. Selective truth is a truly wonderful - or terrible - human trait. But on days like this, it makes it so hard for me to remember that. I'm already wary of walking the streets of KL filled with immigrants (legal status unknown) trying to ike out better lives here, and now I am weary in the comforts of my own home. We just wanted to feel safe, to know we are safe at home. Home.
We are ALL trying to survive in very trying times. I don't see the point of pushing one community off the ledge to benefit the other. Working in tandem - united we stand, remember? - would do a world of good for Malaysians.
Plus, in the biggest of ironies, to me, that statement is bluntly seditious. According to our draconian ISA laws, he deserve a penthouse in Hotel ISA. So why is he sleeping soundly in his own bed tonight? Whom or where do I seek reassurance and security in being Malaysian tonight? Although I shouldn't question it, but would my faith and loyalty pay off in the end, or is it all in vain?
You know, my ancestors boarded ships to this land for a better life for themselves and their descendants - us - and their backbreaking labour and hardship made us what we are today. I have pride in being part of this heritage, that much is true. The seeds they scattered are all grown up now, coloured and shaped by this environment for generations, so I beg you, please see us as fellow Malaysians and not immigrants or squatters, because this is my only home. It's not like we are here illegally or do not give back to the country. Skeptical as I am, scoff as I do at pathetic attempts of patriotic songs or superficial show of 'colourful Malaysia', this is home.
Is it so awfully wrong that we ask for equality and recognition? To have our colours mocked and pleas thrown back into our faces is a huge let down.
Aku anak Malaysia. I grow up learning to embody that spirit, will continue to, and always will.
I am Malaysian, for better for worst. I just hope soon it'll be easier to love, honour and cherish my country.