Friday, February 17, 2012

I am a Malaysian too.

Sometimes, I always wonder what makes a Malaysian, a true Malaysian. Must all Malaysians have only light brown skin color? or maybe yellow? How about the dark tone ones? Must they be judged by the color of their skins? or by the value of their characters?

Malaysia. Malaysian.

I am born as an ethnic Chinese. Contrary to a popular belief that all Chinese people are rich, I am never a rich one. Though I wished to have a car by the time I turned seven, the closest thing I ever got then was a toy car - a Police Hot Wheels Toy Car. As I searched the mangled mess of my childhood box - toys that were kept aside. Many of the toys were quickly forgotten and chucked aside as I grew older.

A week ago, I was back home during my winter vacation. Out of curiosity, I rummaged my dusty toy box. There was a huge stack of hot wheels toy cars (Kept in a plastic bag), I have lots of them. Most were given to me as gifts, birthdays and some of them, I simply cannot remember how I got them. Did I steal them from my sis??!

And then comes the Lego. Lego was the very first toy I like. It all started when I won a first prize and also the runner up prize (another event) in a Lego "My Dream House" Competition when I was very young. I have to admit that I love building things and I had a knack for doing things my way whereby most turned out to be job-well-done. I love Lego. I still do, of course secretly.

As a young kid then, I never remember treating anyone of different beliefs with a double standard. They were all my peers. They were my equals. Of late when I read the newspaper, politicians as old as the tree trunk behind my old school were crying out loud that certain race was left out, etc, I felt..

"Oh Shit. Is this the Malaysia that I knew?"

Life is like the Lego "My Dream House" Competition. In my dream house then, I partitioned a house into 3 parts, a room for my parents, an empty room for my sis (It was empty but at least I was still thoughtful for my sis!) and a room for myself. There was also a living room with the furniture made out of Lego bricks and an attic with a telescope.

This is like a country we want to live in (I think). Instead of building a dream house with only a big room for our self, like a country, it should be inclusive and accepts each and everyone as part of the occupants. We built the rooms to shelter the people. The attic too resembles a store room for the monkeys and politicians.

I remembered clearly that there are some kids (Yah, Kids!) that built their dream houses more resembling a stadium than a home. Alright, these kids might be footballers one day. Ha Ha. Nevertheless, they were my peers, my competitors, so Zappp!! They were eliminated. Nope, not me eliminating them! It was the judges!

Of course along the way, I discovered a lot more about my Chinese ethnicity. I went to a Chinese kindergarden a short distance away from my home while my sister attended a more "prestigious" kindy, the kindy at the Trinity Church. There I learned Chinese but it seemed then I was much more interested in killing the snails in my garden that I sadly neglected learning the still mysterious Chinese characters.

I miserably failed to learn Chinese. But I am still an ethnic Chinese!

Been a Chinese sounds great. You are said to be the brightest, the cleverest and yet you are also the unluckiest when it comes to getting scholarship. Well, too many smart kids, too few books to be shared. Scholarships are limited and somehow everyone regardless of ethnicity need to be prepared for the Plan B (No scholarship).

Some Malaysian Chinese really fare well (They are said to be politically connected. LOL. I was joking okay!), some had to work as a moto (Motorbike, we Malaysians shorten "Motorbike" to just "Moto") repairman, some started fleecing (Kidding) people to buy insurance, some sold Penang Char Koay Teow by the roadside (And the word "Famous" is always added before the "Penang Char Koay Teow") and finally the crazy stingy rich sons of the *****es (They just attend school and inherit the company the next day, something like that lah).

This shows that ethnic Chinese like others are equally at the same level, some are rich and some are poor like the Malays, the Indians, the Eurasians, etc. The poor regardless of races have the same hope and aspiration, to be successful one day. Having special policies to be in favor of another ethnicity is unfair because the poor from the marginalized ethnic group will definitely be against the rich with special privileges, those buying expensive houses with discounts. If the special privileges can be given to all Malaysians regardless of ethnicity, it will be a day fairness prevails.

I am a Malaysian not only because I am born in Malaysia. It was a choice. Citizenship is not about a person knowing each and every lines of the National Principles (Rukun Negara), not only about knowing the Malay Language - our National language, not just the sense of belonging every time we meet fellow Malaysians abroad but in fact it is the concern on how the country that we belong to are heading.

We can fight over policies, unfair to some, fair to some. But fighting endlessly without a compromise will be like burning the bridges to no return. My dream country rightly resembles my first Lego blocks competition. It doesn't matter which color the block of Lego bricks were, as long as they fit perfectly, I am still going strong. No matter how many mistakes I designed my home, I can still remove the mismatched blocks and refit it again. And with that kind of attitude, my fellow competitors should be seeing stars with their stadiums, cattle pen or chicken coop in this "My Dream House" Lego Competition. I won that competition.

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