Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Malaysia, the Homeland

Since birth, there has only been a place I've known to be the homeland. Tracing back to my forefathers, generations of my family including my great grandmother who lived to a ripe old age of 95 was born in this very same homeland. Whilst generations of my family had spent their entire lifetime in this place; through the fearful Japanese invasion, the jubilant celebration of independence of Federation of Malaya and the unification of Malaysia, chants of extremists rallying against other ethic groups calling for the exodus of Chinese had been very much a heartache. 

Throughout the years, memories I've had and that of many elders in my family revolved around the same homeland shared with other Malaysians. Generations of my family had plough through the rough times together with all other Malaysians. We've earned an honest living in the Malaysian economy, played a part to develop the nation and rejoice with every one of our country's glorious days. 

Despite being ethically Chinese, there's hasn't been much recollection of Mainland China (where many believed that's where we Chinese belong) except for holidays which included the horrifying scene of old aunties doing their business with the toilet doors wide open. In fact, there is not a slightest idea of the way of life in China or its ideology in the present day. Nor do I have any clue of its social norms or be able to read and write in Chinese. 

How much do I know about China? Besides, the history books I read at leisure, there's no other connection to this land. How much do I know about Malaysia? Apart from the history books, I'd probably know every nook and corner of Penang, speak its language from local dialects to the national language besides being capable of mapping out the country with my eyes closed. In fact, years after my schooling days of bagging the book prize for Malay language, mind you, I still remember the daunting peribahasa and komponen sastera.

For the years spent during the pursuit of a law degree in London, there has always been a time where cravings for Nasi Lemak, the fragrant coconut milk rice accompanied by sambal bills caused sleepless nights. The hunt for good rendang, satay, ayam masak merah and roti canal had always been in the list too. Surely, I'd miss my dim sum and home cooked flavours but that hasn't put our local Malaysian delicacies aside. When they say food unites Malaysian, I would vouch for that for it is our passion for Malaysian delicacies that breaks the ice. 

The years abroad had too given me the opportunity to see the world; to take flight and explore. Again, it is the very whisper of the local Malay language or the Malaysian habits of 'lah' that kept detecting a Malaysian in the radius so easy. Just days ago in Hong Kong, I've had a delight spotting 2 Malaysians in the Avenue of Stars and having a great chat over the high cost of living in Hong Kong. 

Over the past years, racist remarks had been on its high. Politically fuelled incidents and the condition of the day had made Malaysia even more vulnerable. Yet, instead of unifying the nation, minorities had been boo-ed about their unappreciative acts, called 'pendatang', told to return to where we are from and being shown the door out of the country if there has been any dissatisfaction. Well, dear sir, here's some ideas to consider:
  • The country had been built on the foundation of unity of a multiracial society.
  • Many of us in my generation and before was born and breed here. We certainly did not come from another country and seemed asylum here. Where should we return to too if we had not known of another homeland?
For all I've known, Malaysia is the homeland and I hope to see it prosper like our neighbour down south; to achieve a status of a developed nation; to stand tall in the eyes of the world; to be a highly regarded nation for its transparency and democracy as well as to be a place where all Malaysians feel welcomed as a citizen of the country.

Happy Malaysia Day!