Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Musing of A Young Malaysian

Does singing the national anthem makes you a patriot?

How about reciting the Rukunegara every morning when you wake up?

Or being born here that inevitably registers you a nationality here with a granted MyKad when you are 12 makes you one either?

Or rather is it what you do and feel inside that makes you a Malaysian?

Before I could realise that this coming Sunday our nation is celebrating her 51st independence anniversary, I am reminded multiple times by the surrounding and the people around me of how fortunate I am to be part of this country. You might think this is probably like every very-Malaysian cliche you read in newspapers that you will usually find in the month of August telling you how the food, colours and cultures in Malaysia blend in together to inform you how lucky you are to be Malaysian. But if time is not of hassle to you, please do join me and I tell you from my view of what has a Malaysian become of me. I won't promise you a very hoo-hah Pulitzer-winning story, but however a very sincere and subtle - yet hidden at times - perspective from a young lad who has spent all his life on this soil.

* * *

From the day I stepped away from Ipoh to the day I stepped away from high school, I never remembered loving this country. Neither do I hate it - oh well, maybe sometimes. But funny, I took pride of being a product of national school. Blabbering in Malay, I am happy and not shy to exercise it especially in the mamak slang - cun siott. I also take pride of being very fluent in it (except for when in debate and professional use, and under stress) compared to most of my uni mates, but I do remember how much I hated learning it. Most importantly, I take pride in it not because of the country's education philosophy and policy duhh - but of the people that I hanged out with for the rest of my childhood that shaped me today. With the hills, jungle and being an all-boys premier school, it just makes my days with them much more worthwhile. I even had - have, until today - two pet-sisters who are Muslimahs. I was colourblind then.

Yes - I am still colourblind, but I do see the contrast now with the issues they bring as I continue to count my years. With the newly found ability, I saw how the colours that makes no sense to my colourblind eyes affect our society, education system, our young ones, our economy, our land and our rights with racist remarks and hatred. With this influx of information, I read more and reformed myself, taking a stance to understand this national plague better in order to remedy it. But I was met with disappointments, with each party being immensely revolved around their own interests, I sidelined myself from being poisoned by their thoughts. However, being alone, I drunk myself with depression of my weak comprehension on human and called for the white flag too quickly. I turned into one of them for a moment in doing so.

Soon, I plunged back into my former realisations again, where I involved myself in many things. Say...taking trips to art galleries, participating in community services, catching debates and discussions with friends, noticing every tiny thing and smile on faces, reading the papers, taking interests in the nation's politics - everything, errr....except for my study. My parents are going to kill me, I know, hahahaha - but it is fun knowing how this nation is formed at those seconds I discover something new. Those things can exist before I do, way even before this nation was born. And like a jigsaw puzzle, these missing pieces tell me exactly what I need to know of what went through the minds of people then before and after Malaysia appeared on the world map. They share with me more stories that complicate my mind, but warm my heart more like a plate of nasi lemak topped with rendang chicken and beef serunding.

With a new generation that is very aggresive in speaking their mind, the media and the local arts scene has been flooded with works lately that many did not know are portraying elements of unity. From music, advertisements and poetry to the silver screen, these arts are a very honest and sometimes down-to-earth reflection of what's being like to be in Malaysia. Words that are sown silenced are now loud and clear, breaking the barrier of differences that each Malaysian kept inside thinking they are the odd ones themselves not knowing others are just like them - same.

One very vivid, that is still fresh within me, Malaysian portrayal is Yasmin Ahmad's Sepet. Highly recommended, a film that truly touches the heart of many people like me - I don't know how to explain it here, and you have to watch it for yourself. Remember those Petronas advertisements about Merdeka? Especially the one by Yasmin Ahmad too: Percintaan Tan Hong Ming (Tan Hong Ming's Love; the video below). That young lil' boy reminds me of myself so much!!! Yeah, please do tap into the video posted below, another great work of Malaysian artistes that have the same vision as me of walking towards an undivided Malaysia.

Earlier on, I set foot to Penang again after so many years. Rather than going to Komtar where I stood with trembling legs when I was kid then in one of the highest floors, I managed to place myself in various parts of the island where I witnessed everything from the hills and seas to the people and culture that mixes with contemporary lifestyle and surviving traditions - plus with a little dose of their own politics and isolated history unlike the mainland's. Ok, I confess openly, I fell in love with the island after with a renewed perspective of this nation. This small island, which looks too small to offer big surprises, is actually what Malaysia should modelled after. Oh puh-leaze Penangites, I know I am talking about your homestate, but please don't kembang. In the case you people do, I hope you guys meletup menjadi karipap XD.

I couldn't explain why as I have not completely found what's the Midas touch behind this piece of land separated by seawater, and even if I want to, it would be very lengthy. Maybe next time, until I've learnt of this island much more.

And in UIAM (International Islamic University Malaysia), where I attended on behalf of the campus for a convention, my Muslim and Muslimah friends taught me so much. They opened my eyes wider (not that from colourblind eyes to eyes that can shoot optical blast like X-Men's Cyclops) and they can be really good companions that I can learn from and be honest with. A sight of Malaysia that most Malaysians missed despite being located in a Muslim-dominant varsity,it is the perfect model to debunk stereotypical myths that all Muslims are terrorists and stuff after the incident of 9/11 which is still lively in my mind. We never hide our racial weakness, nor we are not seeking any comparisons of superiority that traces back to our roots and history as it does not matter now as we are one standing on the same ground with the same dilemmas. We always see the other parties and races as the problem when something unwanted arises, and are too quick point our fingers at them, but most of the times, we do not see ourselves as the problem itself too - nor being part of a solution to it.

During my first month in overseas for a working placement end of this year, I foresee that I will miss this place a lot. Ironically, I used to despise this country and dreaming of staying overseas. Now I know why my friends who are back from overseas and those bound to leave for overseas for study, and my aunt in UK when retired, will come back to this place where they belong. Some say it is the governance that screws this country up leaving certain parties marginalised, while others claimed the foolishness of our forefathers signing the social contract. Certain who are not wrong as well say it is all about being human beings.

It will be us the young ones who will lead this country at the end of the day. We are the ones who will pioneer a change as we see fit as how things will change. Who knows that this Indian kid that I know, struggling to support her family by selling nasi lemak while bringing her little brother along to babysit, whose tongue is good at bargaining but never fails to be polite with a 'terima kasih' zipping the deal, will be the prime minister one day. Our politicians, their words, our stubborn elders together with the nation's past can only be like shadows trailing behind us and our future ones. Only our hands will be able to preserve what we love best of this country.

A united Malaysia, my faith is renewed knowing that are more people who are indifferent than I am that I have yet to meet. A new home for me, and a Malaysian I am and tell you of it.

Malaysian Artistes for Unity - Here In My Home

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At 2:19 pm , Blogger NeemoNeemoâ„¢ said...

Love this entry a lot! I would love to publish this.

Send this to newspaper lah.

Cun siott..
*wink wink*

At 2:56 pm , Blogger crono said...

Thank you kak!!! Please do go ahead, I would really appreciate that!

I mau, tapi i takut nie bukan newspaper material dan standard. But I will try and see. Thanks for your support!!

Cun siot!!! hahahaha =D

At 7:34 pm , Blogger fathiah zulkafli said...

owhhhhhh~~~i'm touched at heart and tears are protesting.no!!ur writing is splendid dude!go publish it up. =)

At 8:14 pm , Blogger crono said...

tengkiu tengkiu...

the praise should go some of my friends whose writing is far superb than me. you might wanna visit them at my links there - i bet you will enthralled by them and the stories they get to offer

hehehehe....i segan lah mau publish...trimas akan sokongan anda...maybe i will now but i will have to see who is willing to publish it first =D


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