Race? What's that?

this awesomeness is by [rin] , Saturday, August 29, 2009 1:58 PM

As I flipped open my copy of The Star Weekender today, I immediately saw the headlines "Race? What's that?" on the first page.
My fingers started tingling to get typing about the race-ambiguity piece.
But as I read further, my fingers stopped twitching and instead I began to feel a glow of satisfaction.
Especially when reading Sharyn Lisa Shufiyan and Farrell Tan's opinions.
Because they echo my own and unlike myself, they got the opportunity to tell the world - in black and white print - how they feel about the latest '1Malaysia' concept.
I found myself nodding and agreeing with them as I read about what they had to say.

Today's interviewees were all people of mixed races.
They shared on how other people looked at them oddly - wondering what race and religion they were - and their views on 1Malaysia.
I won't be quoting or explaining what they said, so if you really want to understand the whole deal, I suggest that you get a copy of the papers and read the article yourselves.

I've encountered many incidences where people would look at me oddly, too.
But for me, it isn't so much as a question about my race (I'm quite obviously Chinese) than it is about my ability to speak the language.
I can speak fluent English and when I speak BM, it is with the Malay slang which makes me sound very kampung-Malay-ish.
I guess it is because of this that some come to the conclusion that I can't understand Mandarin.
Sometimes I am called a 'banana' (A Chinese who cannot speak Mandarin), too.
That is, until I open my mouth and reply their (Sometimes rude) remarks in Mandarin.
Or Hokkien.
Or Cantonese.
Or Hockchew.
The expression on some of their faces - especially those who have been saying some not-so-nice things - is priceless.

Hopefully I don't sound like I'm boasting, but I've always had a flair for languages.
I can learn dialects fast, just by listening.
And I also have a colourful family background.
I am half Hockchew and half Cantonese; when I was young my nanny spoke to me in Mandarin (Later on I took up classes for a few years to learn reading and writing the language); and I picked up Hokkien by ear (Am picking up Hockchiang now).

It irks me a lot when people just assume that I can't speak/read/write Mandarin.
But this is just a small matter compared to those of mixed parentage.

Peranakan + Arabian + Japanese + Indian = ?
How do people like this fill up forms?
If the forms are like the PMR and SPM ones (1. Melayu, 2. Lain-lain), then it would be an easier choice.
But if they're like this:
  1. Melayu
  2. Cina
  3. India
  4. Lain-lain - Nyatakan:_______________
Then how would they fill them up?
Choose 3. India?
Or choose 4. Lain-lain and spend 10 minutes writing an essay to explain their heritage?
In this case, abolishment of the 'Race' category in forms would certainly save those of mixed race a lot of trouble and confusion.

Anyway, they're just my views on the issue, we all know that politically, you're whatever race your father is.
Ooh, looks like I'm coming down with a flu.
Better go to bed to ward it off.

100% Malaysian

this awesomeness is by [rin] , Wednesday, August 26, 2009 12:18 PM

No doubt as a lead-up to National Day this 31st, StarTwo from The Star newspapers published an article on racial difference today.
Titled '100% Malaysian', it asks a few young adults about their views on the government's consideration to remove the 'Race' category from official forms.

Among those interviewed was UPM student Simon Ooi.
He mentioned that "...People would usually hang out with friends from their own race, but there's no hatred for other races - people just tend to group together. It's a natural 'phenomenon',".
And, yes, I couldn't agree more with the fact that it is an inbuilt nature in each and every one of us to prefer to 'hang out' with someone with the same skin colour/religion as ourselves.
This is because people who have some similarities tend to have other aspects in common as well.
It is a very natural response for one to want to click with another of their own race on, say, the first day of school.
It appears to be 'safer' ground.
Most may do it subconsciously, and most probably they will open up to everyone else sooner or later, but there's no denying our first impulse to 'flock'.

Loneo James, a Bidayuh teacher says that he has many Sarawakian friends because they share more things in common, and not because they are of the same race.
However, if they were not of the same race, would they even have so many similarities?
It is because of race that likeness and differences occur.

He also encourages us to use Bahasa Malaysia (BM) when engaging in a conversation with someone we've just met.
How many of us (Malays notwithstanding) want to do that?
Especially if we're not sure if the other person is fluent in that language and/or understands it well enough to hold a conversation?
What about when we're talking to foreigners, should we use BM as well?
I don't think so.
To avoid being labeled as socially inept, one should always converse in a language both parties are comfortable with.
This would enable us to put forth our views fluently and thus give a good first impression.

Dianne Bungan, another interviewee with mixed Sarawakian parentage says that the use of our national language breaks down barriers immediately, especially when overseas.
Now, I don't know about you, but if I was overseas and met a fellow Malaysian, I wouldn't want to struggle to speak BM.
Heck, I'd want to greet the person in their own mother tongue!
BM for a Malay, Mandarin for a Chinese and maybe even Tamil for an Indian acquaintance.
Not restrict myself to a certain dialect just because it is my motherland's national language.
A true Malaysian would be able to converse in the many colourful languages of Malaysia, not just BM.
The ability to speak BM doesn't make you Malaysian.
The ability to speak ONLY BM makes you illiterate in the fast-moving world of today.

Racial harmony is not an impossible dream.
However, it has to start with our leaders.
They have to first show the citizens that they do actually want this dream to come true someday.
They should start by taking proactive measures instead of sitting around griping and moaning about the many racial issues happening nowadays.

But if things carry on as they are now, I don't see racial harmony happening any time soon.

In Malaysia, it doesn't matter if one is 50% Malay and 50% Chinese.
According to the Syariah laws, one would still be considered as a Malay and has to practice Islam, wear a tudung and consent to Muslim laws.
Because this is what the laws and constitutions of this country implies - That Malays and the Islamic religion is of greater importance here.

How can anyone be expected to mingle freely and treat everyone else as their equals if the government does not?
How can we change when nobody is encouraging us to stop 'flocking'?
The many special treatments given to Malays set them a rank higher than the rest of us.
The political world is mostly dominated by this race and those from other races are barred from holding any of the highest posts.
This casts the Malays as of a greater status than the rest of society and therefore prevents everyone to live together as true equals.
It is not the rakyat's fault that we're unable to harmonize, it is the leader's.
What they expect us to achieve, they should take the first baby step in achieving!

The 'Race' category in any form is just like filling in your gender or address, but it makes a great difference when you have only 2 choices -
  1. Melayu
  2. Lain-lain
For this is the choice Penilaian Menengah Rendah (PMR) and other major examinations-takers have.
So, we're either Malay, or we're not, in this country.
Is this truly the future of Malaysia?
To let those from other countries view 'Malaysian' as a stereotype of people from a narrow-minded country, instead of a race by itself, as it should be?

of corruption and the MALAYsian government...

this awesomeness is by [rin] , Monday, August 24, 2009 4:33 PM

In Primary- and Secondary-level History (Sejarah), we're taught that 'orang Melayu merupakan pengasas dan penghuni pertama di Tanah Melayu' (Malays are the founders of Malaya).
On the tertiary level (Colleges and universities), Malaysian Studies teaches the students that the Malays are the first residents of this land and that they were the ones who discovered this land, too.

For this 'reason', this piece of earth we live on is called MALAYsia and the government's many constitutions and laws are made by Malays, for Malays.
They call themselves the 'fathers of this country' and therefore have privileges and rights that other races do not have.
They labeled the true bumiputeras of this country (The orang aslis - Iban, Kadazan, etc.) as peribumis.

Yes, you read correctly.
The true first residents of this land are not the Malays, but the orang aslis.
Researches have been conducted and this is what the results show - The Malays are pendatang asing (Foreigners) too.
Just the same as we Chinese and Indians and the many other races which inhabit this country and call it our motherland.
The Malays have the same status as anyone else!
The only difference is that they came a little bit earlier and thus claimed this land as theirs, taking over everything and stripping the true bumiputeras of their rights as founders and local residents.

Yes, of course the Dayaks and Kadazandusuns still have some rights as 'peribumi's, but not as much as they deserve to have as the true locals of this country!
And many of them have never even been given the chance to improve themselves and their society's way of life.
Is the government afraid they might rise up and finally claim back what is rightfully theirs - this piece of land they and their ancestors grew up in?

The laws of this country is also awfully lopsided to the Malays.
For example, the constitution forbids a person of any other race other than Melayu to take the topmost positions in the government such as Agung, Sultan and Perdana Menteri.
All I can say is - Let someone from another race take over and see wonders happening!
I mean, just look at our neighbour, Singapore.
It was doing okay when it was under Malaysian reign, but it wasn't 'till it got independant and under Lee Kuan Yew's leading did it really flourish and then become what it is today.

And what's this about Malays not being able to change their religion?
What happened to Malaysia being a free country?
Everyone should have a right to choose what they want to believe in.
Dear government, afraid that you'll have no more Islams left if you allow everyone to have that choice?
Again, perhaps.

All those leaders think they're oh-so-great, but the truth is, the Malaysian government is rife with corruption and negative influnces.
Money-leeching is obvious even in the most insignificant of kerajaan dealings; motoring license application, for example.
One who does not give the Majlis Perbandarans their duit kopi (Bribe money) would be forced to take the test many, many times.
But that usually only applies to non-Malays.
(Un)Surprisingly, the Malays usually pass on their first try...

I'm not saying that all Malays are cr4p.
Only the ones who're up there are.

Niways, what can we do 'bout this?
Move out once we get qualifications?

I mentioned a BIG thing in my previous post.
Well, it was gonna be about Praise&Prayer Nite, but I don't have photos so not really nice edi.
Anyway I substitute with this.

short update...

this awesomeness is by [rin] , Saturday, August 22, 2009 4:28 PM

Okay, all.
Just a little update here before my next post 'bout something BIG.

Tonight's Praise & Prayer Nite at Wesley Sitiawan.
It's finally here!
After all the hard work, sweat, blood, organs, excretions, etc. (You get the idea), we're finally prepared for the big day.

For anyone who's curious:
I'm performing a dance.
Deal with it.
If you're doubtful.
Come see with your own eyes.

Just got back from E&E.
Went to get fresh contacts.
Brown, this time.
Getting bored of the plain ones.

Gotta go finish up all my stuff before tonight.
See you all at 7pm at Wesley Meth. Church, Sitiawan!
All come come okay?

my kl chronicles...

this awesomeness is by [rin] , Friday, August 14, 2009 1:38 PM

Just came back from KL last Sunday.
Went there with my family for... Fun!

But turned out it wasn't really much fun, 'coz didn't go anywhere interesting.
Kinda wasted 4 hours sitting in the car, go all the way to KL.

Anyways, I got some pictures.
Taken with my K530i, so probably not really good quality.
But, hey, at least they're small and upload fast!

First meal at KL - Satay Kajang~!
The satays are huge.
And I do mean HUGE!

Check them out!
They're each about the size of a pair of adult thumbs.
Do you wonder why we only ate satay for lunch and nothing else?

Then, we went to a new mall, Aeon (AU2).
Where I saw this damn chun pair of Nikes...

Which costs RM216.
Totally out of my range.
Oh well, guess I'll have to look for a new pair of shoes closer to home, then.

That night's dinner at Ampang Point.
NZ Teriyaki Beef Rice.
Wasn't too bad.
Oh, and that reddish sushi at the top of the picture?
It's my fave kind - baby octopus.

Spent the night at my uncle's house at Ukay Perdana.
Nice, posh place.
After breakfast with my aunt & uncle the next morning, we headed to Sunway Pyramid.

No, I didn't go ice-skating.
Didn't have the time.
Which was too bad because I really miss it...
Well, did some shopping there for |oupo and |ui|ui, anyway.
Just 'coz I promised them.
Lucky girls.

Then, went to Ikea.
Where I saw this cute lil' car...


The view inside Ikea.
It's full of floor-to-ceiling shelves with all sorts of furniture.
You can find literally everything there!
But too bad I'm not one to be interested in couches and light fixtures.

Before heading home, I stopped by Borders in The Curve (Just opposite Ikea... ^^) and managed to pujuk Dad to buy the whole Black Magician Trilogy by Trudi Canavan.
I so so so so so LOVE the books~!

The first book.
Nice cover, eh?

Then we came home to boring lil' ole Sitiawan.

a seriously hectic week...

this awesomeness is by [rin] , Friday, August 7, 2009 6:40 PM

This week was really totally busy man...

Sunday went to Ipoh.
Monday school; skipped tuition to practice motor.
Tuesday skipped school to take P-license exam (FAILED... T^T)
Wednesday school; tuitions.
Thursday skipped school again for PSK quiz at Changkat Beruas (which SUCKED); night had dance practice at church.
Friday school; catch up on sleep; went back to school; later have to pack.
Saturday & Sunday I'll be at KL with my family (and, hopefully, either |oupo or |ui|ui - still waiting for them to reply me).

Tired sia~!

Next Tuesday skipping school again to take P-retest...
Damn sui man, fail edi...

Cute clipart of the day...

Off to finish up my stuff then SDO for a while before heading off to KL tomorrow.

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