The wisdom of a 24 year old

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.


10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. A true Malaysian
    Sep 08, 2009 @ 13:16:20

    I think many of us are equally tired with this racial rhetoric, just that Sharyn Lisa Shufiyan can put it better.

    All of us should have the wisdom of this young lady. This is the wisdom that I was talking all along, and this is the wisdom my great teacher teaches me, to learn to co-exist peacefully with our surrounding.


  2. Meng
    Sep 08, 2009 @ 13:22:02

    I interact with the malays daily and I don’t see any problems of race. It is the umno malays ..they are the ones with racial discrimination in their mind.

    At the forefront of discrimination presently are Muhyiddin, Hishamuddin and Toyal who’s attitude are in collision with the concept of 1malaysia..the rest are just followers trying to score points to win favours.

    How can we stop race politics when we have the three cows above???


  3. clearwater
    Sep 08, 2009 @ 15:33:04

    If this is the view of the typical urban educated young Malaysian, they should come out in the open with it and tell all those narrow thinking politicians where to shove their communal politics and their divide and rule tactics. They should register to vote and take the trouble to vote. They should tell their families, friends, peers and spread word of their views and beliefs. They should not remain in the shadows; ignored by the government and with their future in this country frittered away by unsound policies and bad leaders. They and their friends should not become another lost generation. They should take this country back from hate and deceit.


  4. Dr Hsu
    Sep 08, 2009 @ 16:06:12

    As she said, name is not important.

    Idris Jala is a christian and yet Idris is a Malay name.

    As long as inside his heart, he is a christian and he folllows the teachings of christinity, it does not matter whehter he is called John or Idris or Beng or muthu.


  5. CYC
    Sep 08, 2009 @ 17:35:33

    Yes, Malaysians always emphasize form over substance. For examples, your family background determines your moral standing, your occupation determines your credibility, your university determines your level of knowledge, your physical appearance determines your honesty and bla bla. But all these forms can be illusive in nature. Just look at KTK, he has a PhD but he definitely not as political savvy as Lee San Choon who has no degree to show. Similarly, those BN fella who has “perceived high social standing” definitely has lower dignity than Dr. Syed Husin of PKR or Dr. Nasir Hashim of PSM. Lee Lam Thye of today cannot be compared with yerster years LLM who traveled with typewriter as his most trusted companion.

    In a more serious note, many Buddhists with so called Chritian names are actually top notch Budhist leaders who perform missionary work with an untiring effort. They are the shinning stars of Buddhism.

    By the way, I am not anti establishment.


  6. Yam Siap
    Sep 09, 2009 @ 12:07:41

    Datuk Hisham our beloved Tengku Abdul Rahman is extremely proud of this offspring. But can your grandpa and father be this proud. I do not think so cos what is there to be proud if your offspring is destroying your legacy.


  7. klm
    Sep 09, 2009 @ 12:55:18

    Spring is not in the air

    In temperate countries, spring always conjures a warm period after long cold winter. It is a season of feeling good. It is a season of flowers, love, new lives and good things to come.

    Today, in Malaysia, there is no longer the feel good atmosphere. The last time I felt this was the year 2000 and 2001. The feel good of new optimism, where

    1. Malaysia Boleh! meant a new confidence
    2. Malaysia was s up with the rest of the world and we could do anything

    Eight to nine years later, look at us. Malaysia Boleh? meant a derogatory statement that means
    unsavoury things can be done in spite of rules and laws.

    We have a government that basically chipped away the feel good factors. The education gone to the dogs. Race and religion become the dividing line. Stealing a state from the people. Abuse of its privileges and corrupt to the core.

    Why cant the government bring back spring. Why cant it embark on spring cleaning. Clear the cobwebs.

    The only hope for the survival of BN is to have Spring is the the air. We can vote BN only if we feel good.


  8. vsvsv
    Sep 09, 2009 @ 13:54:54

    The malaysian second home policy really contradict with the current government policy.
    Those foreigners who took up our citizenship, are they malaysian or still being call “mat salleh”? This is why governement plan failed when ultimately the government still put malay race ahead.


  9. clearwater
    Sep 09, 2009 @ 15:00:01


    The MM2H program does not confer citizenship or even permanent residence, only the right of abode in Malaysia subject to means test and certain conditions being met and adhered to by foreigners. It is open to all qualified foreigners, including mat salleh or mat sushita or mat whatever who still retain their citizenship. Quite a number of MM2H residents are retirees who enjoy living part or most of the year in places like Penang, near warm tropical seas and where costs are low and the living is easy.


  10. 1MY
    Sep 11, 2009 @ 11:28:19

    A lot of Mat Salleh come to Malaysia under the MSH programme as they can’t afford to retire in their country. They have lost most of their retirement funds in recent plunge of share market

    Just imagine US$1 = RM3.55 or A$1 = RM3.07 can do real wonders in Malaysia. A simple house (timber articulated house) in Australia cost A$600,000 to A$1 million. With that money, you can buy high end solid concrete condo or mansion in Malaysia. No wonder all these MS flock to Malaysia. The varieties of food and weather are the other attraction. In England, you only see two days of sun in summer and winter is cold like hell.

    Also, they are treated like God here. They can enter any 5 stars hotel restaurant wearing singlet and thongs – can you Malaysian do that? They are just blue eyes boys.

    I can still remember when I stay in a hotel in one of the Sarawak beach resort. I requested for a extra pillow and it never came – only after a few reminder calls. Maybe if I sound like Mat Salleh, my pillow will be delivered to me super speed. This is just some of our countrymen’s mentallity towards westerners.


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