We're united in love for Malaysia
ON Nov 3, 36 Malaysian students from diverse backgrounds were selected and sponsored by the Chinese embassy in Malaysia to participate in a Malaysia-China Youth Exchange Programme to Beijing for nine days.
I was among the participants. During our nine-day stay in Beijing, we participated in the rich culture of the Chinese people and experienced China’s technological advancement, which left us in awe.
However, I am not here to share with you our positive impression of Beijing, but instead, a new perspective that I gained from the expedition.
Over the past three years, I have invested my time to understand Malaysia’s political scene. And during those three years, I have encountered “actors” who were engrossed in their racial political rhetoric.
It is a card that is played by certain parties to ensure they remain in power. Instilling fear is, indeed, one of the most effective tools politicians can use to fulfil their interests.
In a multiracial country like Malaysia, I have learnt that tolerance is, indeed, possible.
If you had asked me this months ago, I wouldn’t have believed it. But if you ask me now, I am 100 per cent sure of it.
During our time in China, my Chinese friends were respectful enough to understand that Muslims are obligated to eat halal food.
And I had no issues with my non-Muslim friends wanting to eat non-halal food. This is tolerance and mutual understanding.
We also had a few Indian participants who could not eat beef, and none of us had any issues with that either.
In fact, what we did was to arrange our seats accordingly to accommodate those who can or cannot eat beef, to ensure our friends could dine in peace.
This moment reminded me of the words of former prime minster Tunku Abdul Rahman: “We are all Malaysian. This is the bond that unites us. Let us always remember that unity is our fundamental strength as a people and as a nation.”
For Malaysia to progress, we need to find common ground and get to know and understand each other better.
We need to get rid of the politics of hate derived from racist sentiments. We need to play a role in outsmarting parties pitting us against one another.
We have to look beyond our social media chambers and venture outside our “one-race-only ” circle of friends.
I’ve had enough of racial card being played over and over again. Aren’t you sick of it too?
We all share a common love for nasi lemak, char kway teow and rojak. And most importantly, the love we have for Malaysia. Let’s focus on our similarities instead of our differences.
I hope that with this sharing, we can learn to embrace the fact that we are a multiracial country and accept it. This is the beauty of Malaysia.
Ten years from now, I pray and hope that no one would play the racial card and pit us against each other. You may say I’m a dreamer, but am I really the only one?
SHARIFAH SAKINAH SYED ALWI
Postgraduate candidate, Universiti Malaya
(Source : New Straits Times)
(Source : New Straits Times)