Of Boxes and Pigeons

Driving back home from an impromptu exploration in Kuala Lumpur got me wanting to write this piece immediately before that light bulb dims. On my way on the public highway, I saw a string of cars with a certain red political party flag blazing through the traffic jam. Maybe there was some kind of gathering nearby but every time I pass by one vehicle with the flag, I cringe.

To say that I have lack of pride for Malaysia is the total opposite.

I just think for a nation with diverse races and ethnics, it’s time for all of us to take a bigger step and embrace the differences as a whole instead of pigeon hole everything. After 58 years of independence, I would think that we’ve advanced in accepting who we are. I suppose, given the powers that be, in order to stay in power for as long as one dreams, rather than making decisions for the nation, the decisions are based on what goes into one’s pocket. Hence the need to still fill up forms acknowledging you’re either Malay, Chinese, Indian or Other for official documents.

Back then, I get the need for such system, but we’re in the 21st century and the society have evolved from being identified as just one race. Today, more than anything, we’re made of many religions, heritage and bloodline. So how is this still relevant today?

Box

Since I was young, I had a difficult time figure this out. I always wondered to myself – how could I possibly tick only one box? If anything, I could tick all of the above and “Other” as well since I am made of all that. Wouldn’t be unfair to only acknowledge one and not the others, right?

Apparently, it’s wrong.

The moment you have Malay blood, it automatically takes helm in everything because of the Bumiputera status. Not that I think the value of one race is of much higher value than the rest, because how would I measure myself as Malay, Chinese, Indian and French since it’s all in me.

That’s why, when a certain minister best not mentioned, made the most ludicrous statement last election about asking the Chinese Malaysians to go back to mainland China out of spite, I questioned the state of affairs in Malaysian minds. How can this be accepted at any level? That would mean, I too have to be sent away then because I’m not Malay “enough”.

Again, the unfortunate thing that has been happening in Malaysia is that, the minority monkeys do not represent the nation. They happen to get the spotlight because the powers that be holds the rights to shine upon whoever whenever whatever according to their instruction. To our dismay, it’s these idiotic manners that’s been picked up internationally and one way or the other have painted a bad picture for the rest of us.

Oh how I weep inside for the turnaround of events that made us look foolish. Yet, I keep reminding myself, they do not reflect me or many of the amazing Malaysians in this country and therefore, I hope the fire keeps burning to help rebuild this nation into a better society. A better mindset.

Of course, being the overambitious idiot that I am, such drastic changes will take dog years to have an impact but that doesn’t mean it should deter you, me or other people to keep working on making Malaysia a better country.

It may seem baby steps, most of the time, it doesn’t even have that big of an imprint but longterm wise, every tiny decision we make to rebuild this country means we’re doing one thing better in that given time.

So, coming back to that particular flag incident, I’ve always thought that some parties have become irrelevant because it doesn’t represent Malaysia as a whole. It can force itself to be THE face of a particular type of mentality and race but it will not justify the decades of heritage Malaysians have helped brewed in this country. I wonder, how many of us come from pure blood lineage, anyway? Why can’t we be who we are without dividing based on our race?

As a country and nation, we are indeed a walking contradiction. We pride in being courteous, warm and harmonious but are these only verbally mentioned but not virtues we lived by?

Actually, take away all the material things, when you do explore Malaysia on your own, whether in the back alleys of the city or rural areas, you will find that soul that makes Malaysia, Malaysia. That essence that binds us together. We don’t need flashy neon lights labels to verify what we’re about. More of often than not, the harder we try to “sell” ourselves, the less authentic or genuine we become.

So all these political statements are just that, words. And it’s ashamed considering how much money they pump in to make campaigns out of it to only be mentioned at official functions when it’s an empty message at best.

If Malaysians allow themselves to be Malaysians, I reckon, we’d be a much more cultured, mindful and tolerant of each other. There’s a certain tenderness this society is slowly losing it’s grasp on and it saddens me more now than ever.

Coming back to Malaysia hasn’t been the smoothest transition physically, mentally and spiritually but I’ve slowly gone into a self recovery mode, doing the things I love and enjoy in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor. I’ve slowly come to realise why I have the need to be back and do impactful things for the community, for myself.

Yeah, I’ve been told by many of my decision to come back instead of settling elsewhere – apparently the grass is greener elsewhere but seriously, is it really that bad here when if you were to take a moment to observe, Malaysia is the best place to experiment and build foundations. If we stop looking at other countries, other people and their lifestyle, perhaps then we can start watering our own grass for once.

Many Malaysians always say, there’s nothing for me in Malaysia. Yeah, how much have you don’t for Malaysia to come to that conclusion?

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