I have missed out this piece of news in the Star, but fortunately I received it from a friend via email.
This is the comment made by the great grandduaghter of our first Prime Minister recently and I think she has hit the nail right on its head.
I will post her comment here:
Sharyn Lisa Shufiyan, 24
(Tunku Abdul Rahman’s great granddaughter)
“Both my parents are Malay. My mum’s heritage includes Chinese, Thai and Arab, while my dad is Minangkabau. Due to my skin colour, I am often mistaken for a Chinese.
“I’m happy that I don’t have the typical Malay look but I do get annoyed when people call me Ah Moi or ask me straight up: “Are you Chinese or Malay?”
“Like, why does it matter? Before I used to answer ‘Malay’, but now I’m trying to consciously answer ‘Malaysian’ instead.
“There’s this incident from primary school that I remember till today. Someone told me that I will be called last during Judgement Day because I don’t have a Muslim name. Of course, I was scared then but now that I’m older, I realise that a name is just a name. It doesn’t define you as a good or bad person and there is definitely no such thing as a ‘Muslim’ name. You can be named Rashid and still be a Christian.
“I’ve heard of the 1Malaysia concept, but I think we don’t need to be told to be united. We’ve come such a long way that it should already be embedded in our hearts and minds that we are united. Unfortunately, you can still see racial discrimination and polarisation. There is still this ethno-centric view that the Malays are the dominant group and their rights must be protected, and non-Malays are forever the outsiders.
“For the concept to succeed, I think the Government should stop with the race politics. It’s tiring, really. We grew up with application forms asking us to tick our race. We should stop painting a negative image of the other races, stop thinking about ‘us’ and ‘them’ and focus on ‘we’, ‘our’ and ‘Malaysians’.
“No one should be made uncomfortable in their own home. A dear Chinese friend of mine said to me once: ‘I don’t feel patriotic because I am not made to feel like Malaysia is my home, and I don’t feel an affinity to China because I have never lived there’.
“I know some Baba Nyonya friends who can trace their lineage back hundreds of years. I’m a fourth generation Malaysian. If I am bumiputra, why can’t they be, too? Clearly I have issues with the term.
“I think the main reason why we still can’t achieve total unity is because of this ‘Malay Rights’ concept. I’d rather ‘Malay Rights’ be replaced by human rights. So unless we get rid of this bumiputra status, or reform our views and policies on rights, we will never achieve unity.
“For my Merdeka wish, I’d like for Malaysians to have more voice, to be respected and heard. I wish that the Government would uphold the true essence of parliamentary democracy. I wish for the people to no longer fear and discriminate against each other, to see that we are one and the same.
“I wish that Malaysia would truly live up to the tourism spin of ‘Malaysia Truly Asia’.
This is what multiracial country should practise if true unity is to be achieved..
I especially like the part that she mentioned that everyone should feel comfortable in his or her own home .
The cake is big enough for every body. But right now, so many are forced to go overseas because they do not feel comfortable in their own country.
Her views typifies many of the urban educated young Malaysians of all races. And the proportion of this group of young Malaysians is going to go up and be very significant 2 elections from now. So politicians should wake up and discard their racial outlook and adopt nonracial approach to implement policies and solve problems. Those who insist on uttering racist comments and stirred racial and religious feelings should bear in mind that they would be shipped out sooner or later, since the thinking of the younger generations, thanks to the internet, is no longer so narrow and medieval.
Why should we step on each other’s toes and try to make each other angry, just because of the shades of our skin, when all of us can and should sit down amicably and work together to make the country progress? If we can stop for a moment and think about what this girl has said, there would not be incidents like the ‘cowhead’ thing recently.
What she has said represents what this blog has been trying to voice out all these months. All men are brothers, and we should adopt the universal value of the strong helping the weak, the rich helping the poor , the able helping the not-so-able, and not on the basis of race or religion.