Sekadar ambil tau saja kot...
Racists and Bigots.
It's a Malaysian thing?...
Even here, in Crib, we have racists and bigots. We need to teach them not to be racists. Not to be bigots. If our schools do not do that. If our education system does not do that. And if our government will not do that, then we have to take it upon ourselves, individually or together, to do it. This is not the Malaysia that I know. This is not the Malaysia that I grew up in. The hatred and paranoia that is now around us all have nothing to do with race or religion. It has all to do with behavior. It is how parents are now bringing up their kids - lacking respect and tolerance for others who are different from them.
Take me as an example. My primary schooling was all over the states - JB, KL, and Kota Baru - multi-racial and co-ed schools. My secondary education was at MCKK - an all-male, all Malay place of learning. I was never conscious of any racial or religious pressure to make me act or behave in a certain way. I did remember the emphasis that as Muslims we need to remember that the Chinese eat pork and we Muslims do not, but never any reminder from my parents or my elders, nor my teachers and peers, that those who were different from us were pendatangs.
For sure, when we went to the shops run by the Chinese, we call them Towkays. For us Malays then, the Indians were more fun than the Chinese for they laugh with us more easily and never took offense when we laugh with them, not at them. The Bhai, the Javanese, and the others that we sometimes meet in our lives were remembered because they were different from us. The Sikh with their turbans and the Javanese in the manner they spoke. I remember with affection that one of the ladies that used to look after me when I was young was a Javanese that I call Embok - which Google tells me a few moments ago, is Javanese for ‘mother’.
All these people were part of my life. All these people were also part of my parent's life, and together we lived content with our lot. For sure, some were better off than others. I remember that in Sentul where my grandparents lived, one of the children of the Chinese shopkeeper went to VI. There was also, almost at the very gates of my grandparent's house, an Indian Temple. No mosques in sight. The Indian Temple was forever busy with streams of Indians going in and out at various times for prayers and bells ringing. No Ustaz in sight. No Azam can be heard at any time of the day. And at times you will be forgiven to think that in Kampong Kassippilay, the Malays and Chinese were the Pendatangs.
Today, those childhood memories are just that. Memories. For sure there is now that political behemoth Umno, threatening to suffocate us all with racism. There is Pas wholly beside themselves in their religious eagerness to convert and trample over us all with their odious bigotry. The Chinese, Indians, and the others are still around us, though in diminishing numbers and relegated to the status of pendatangs by political pariahs, and to their fault, these nons are accepting of their lot for they think there is nothing they can do about it all.
My parents are no more, but I still teach my children what my parents taught me. We are all of the human kind. Do good, be good, and be nice to each other. And yet, even as I continue to do what my parents have done to me with my children, there are around me too many Malaysians fill with hate and bigotry for each other.
But these are adults. And you can find some of them here among us spouting their anger, their hate, fear, and loathing that other Malaysians are calling them pendatangs. That other Malaysians are depriving them of justice, equal opportunities, and the ability to earn a decent living. And this hate, fear, and loathing, they have now passed on to their children. The scary part is that there are so many of them around us.
And have I been scared of these differences between the Malaysian that I grew up in and the Malaysian that is now around me? Yes, I have. I am scared that there are people in Malaysia who think that I am a threat to the nation's security, that I am a religious bigot and the authorities back in K Hell are determined that I be punished for being so.
These same authorities are asking the pendatangs to go home. Go home to where? Go home to where they come from? The last time I checked, these pendatangs come from the same place as I do. I was born in Segambut. So are some of them. I went to primary schools in JB, KL, and Kota Baru. So did some of them. For my secondary schooling, I was in Kuala Kangsar, and some of them taught me while I was there. And today, while I choose to live in Australia, these pendatangs are still living in Malaysia. So sekarang, siapa yang berhak mengaku mereka sebagai Anak Malaysia? Them or me?
I do not know what the solutions are to the malaise that now besets our nation and our people. But this much I know. I have taught my children to respect and accept others who are different from them. And I am sure their children will also be taught the same things. Maybe, just maybe, if the racist and bigots that are now among us are made to understand that we sink or swim together in this tiny part of the world call Malaysia, maybe they will begin to understand and celebrate unity in our diversity. And making them understand this, begins with you and me. - Hussein Abdul Hamid