Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Racial Harmony

taken from
My 2 sens about racial intergration.
OP Keeran spoke about Trust.

OP RAS spoke about the Realisation of Bangsa Malaysia

OP Anis spoke about the whole BIG picture.

So, now, what do i have to say about this issue?

Immediate LEFT HAND Side neighbour : Malay family - 20 years
Immediate RIGHT HAND Side neighbour: Chinese Family - 5 years
Immediate INFRONT Neighbour: Malay and Indian - 20 years, both.

Neighbourhood composition (within 10 houses away each direction, except behind my house, which is Lembah Keramat -100% Malay neighbours) :
Left hand: 5 Malay families averaging 15 years, 3 chinese families, averaging 13 years, 1Indian Family, 20 years and 1 empty house, previously chinese family.
Right hand : 8 Malay families, averaging 18 years, 1 chinese family, 5 years, 1 indian family, 10 years.
Infront: 4 Malay families, averaging 12 years, 5 indian Families, averaging 10 years, 1 mamak family, 2 years.

If you ask me, this is a very very very healthy mix of races in Jalan Permata 10, in Taman Permata, Ulu Kelang.

HIS-story began

For as long as i can remember. i shifted to this home of mine since i was 5 years old. This has made my family the longest living family amongst the 30 houses i took as samples in this *survey*, possibly one of the first few pioneer here.

Racial intergration wasn't much of a problem here, seriously. I went to SRK Taman Melawati that consist of a very healthy mix among races. I grew up with my friends coming to my house for dinner and me going over to theirs for dinner. During festive season, you can see the family that celebrate the festivities bringing and sending goodies to all neighbours house that do not celebrate them.

From 5 years old, i grew up eating rendang and nasi himpit from my malay neighbours and muruku and min kari from my indian neighbours.

No one tried to outdo one another with a bigger or newer car or properties. Kids run freely and we played freely (and fight freely too)

Well, the religious and racial tolerance extend to the fact that each of us knows what we can't eat and can eat. You see, my family do not take beef(well, i'm of exception), and my malay neighbour had never offered beef rendang or kari to us, but to others, yes. This is what i call sensitivity and run along the term *tak kenal maka tak cinta*.

During Raya, you can see that the chinese will help out their malay neighbours in preparing for the festivities, chain link fences are brought down, so that the house that celebrate the festival will have a larger patio to accomodate the guests. Rendang and delicacies are prepared en-mass, with my mum that don't take beef, helping them out cutting beef into cutlet and learning how to make rendang...well, you can call that *espionage*...

All my friends are made up from all races that i could think off, pure blood, mixed blood and all sort of background from having parents that are drivers to army generals.

Growing Pains

I then went to SM Lembah Keramat (it was changed to SM KEBANGSAAN Lembah Keramat, to reflect and to carry on the fact that this is, originally a school proud of their tradition with multiracial setting), there, i was the ONLY non malay in the class (in form 1) and i was the class monitor for the fact that i mingle around everyone with ease. I didn't see it as a big deal then, I was made a prefect in Form 2, and was later absorbed into the prefectorial board, incharge of the afternoon session. I was also the VP for the Red Cresent Society and a few other clubs as well. Not a problem, i handle the so-called racial barrier with ease, and if anyone were to ask, i brisk through it.

I even remembered once, i was taunted by the Form 5s when i was in Form 2, believe me, i had all my friends, you name it, from every race and every age that stood up for me, and obviously, that had scared the prepatrators off. I didn't call for help, but they all saw it, and they came to my rescue.

Infact, most of us felt funny when issues of racial intergration in Universities and in schools cropped up, if i recall correctly, it surfaced up when my ex-girlfriend enters university in 1997. Students are made to stay in room with at least one races each. It was akward, for the others of course, but not for her, because just like me, she has a best friend that is from a Malay ancestory, so, she can't understand what and why the hype about all the racial thingy all about.

I went to RMC after Form3, my parents objected to it, not because of what other realtives said that it will be "all Malays and minorities will be crushed", but because i didn't get their consent in the first place, i simply told them i went for some camp with my friends. 8 of us from the same school(SMLK) went for the interview in Sg Besi, and 4 of us got it. OP Iqbal Farim, Dr. -G coy, OP Faris Ismail -D Coy and OP Aminuddin - F Coy, and me of course. The other 4 failed because they can't scrap through the Medical Officers....But Capt Sahar(A Coy) allowed them to remain in RMC for the interview, for them to taste what it has to offer. Obviously, all of us has turned out great, and my relatives that once said what they said, has to swallow their words, and even asked me if it is posibble to get their kids in next time...of course i said yes...

I did my Form 6 in Victoria Institution, an English medium school rich in Her own history of multiracial settings (with each sports house named after the founder of Kuala Lumpur, how unmultiracial that could be???). I was made a prefect again in VI just because i was the ONLY Ex-Boy that year there. OP Liaw Ban Thong was my junior when i was in VI. OP Patrick Chiam (89.93H) was with me for a lil while before he got a scholarship to do medicine under the MINDEF sponsorship. No racial problem whatsoever still when i was doing my Form 6. Hmm..maybe that was because by now, it has been 18 years since i was brought up in a multiracial setting, hence, it become like second nature to me(?)

Culture Shock!
Then i went to TAR College, only did i realised that i was *sidelined* even amongst my own so called race. Not coming from a Chinese school and not being able to read or write, has made me into an outcast, well, at least, i don't need to carry an english-bahasa-chinese dictionary around when i go to college. I made good friends with some other students from other faculty which are not of my race. I was denied the post of the Student Rep because i can't write or read chinese (what?) and the Student Rep that was elected, spoke in england that only his *kind* could understand....those are the bad days, if you should asked me, the worse period in my MULTIRACIAL life.

I didn't manage to finish TARC, and i went to KDU to do my degree, in KDU, it was an almost global mix of students, with people coming from countries i've only read in books or atlas, to people that wasn't my peers(younger or olderla...) No problem with racial intergration here, well, i guess, that was what i thought, but there was chide going around about those *China* girls doing part time in some joint and all that...well, that got nothing to do with racial stuff la...not too sure about *intergration* though. ;-)

Working Life
As a young adult, that basically warmed up to join the rat race, i must say i did pretty badly...hahaha, not only my work now doesn't require me to wear long sleeves shirt or a tie, i am sometime seen as some uneducated contractor. Actually, i had a short stint in working in Malaysia's largest Ad Agency. That is a totally different experience altogether when i comes to racial intergretion. It was then i heard terms like *KULIT-FICATION* i was like W.T.F??? It was hard, for me, being and coming from a "Sheltered" life as M-Boy (Multiracial Boy la...what think you?)

It was also then that i start to hear and listen and read more about intergration in the paper and media...that was when i knew, that we are, indeed, moving backwards as a nation, as opposed to moving forward...

Too much prejudice. Too much race stereotyping. Too much heartache.

The Future
Do i see us all, being the TRUE BANGSA MALAYSIA? Where we don't need to fill in BANGSA anymore in any government forms, where just stating MALAYSIAN will do? Will our kids and our kids' kids, have the privy to be able to grow up the way some of here did? That is, without any prejudice against anybody of any kulit(fication)??

I have a dream...what about YOU? Rakyat Malaysia?

Interesting read: Martin Luther King's Speech

ps- i've just recieved a phone call from my client's land surveyor, he must had thought my name was IWAN, instead of Ee-Van...he greeted me in the way a Muslim, i can't wait to see his surpised look when he see that i am not.... hahahaha...Malaysian? I am definately one!

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