Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The real 1Malaysia

I just came home from a discussion on issues related to places of worship. I sat there for at least 3 hours listening to the numerous yet different suggestions, feedbacks and opinions from various groups present. One resounding message that sticks out like a sore thumb to me is this: if we continue to operate and regulate everything in this nation based on race and religion, there will be no end to it. Laws and regulations must not recognise skin colour.

Race-based politics have infiltrated our society so much so that for things to change, we need to totally eradicate it and start anew. We must leave no room for exceptions for the survival of race-based politics.

I have been blessed by an encounter I had in Angsana flats in USJ 1. I was invited to visit a young gentleman there who is wheelchair-bound. His name is Chin Kit. When I arrived in Chin Kit’s house, I was informed by his parents that he was out with his friend.
At Chin Kit's house with USJ Residents' Association
I waited for him to return home. I was curious to find out about his transport arrangement. When Chin Kit returned home, my eyes were fixed to his wheelchair. Behind his wheelchair was another young man, Azizul his name.

As we chatted, I discovered that Azizul lives in Pantai Dalam, KL. Azizul would travel from KL to USJ 1 just to spend time with Chin Kit. Azizul also suffers from disability on his hand.

Chin Kit and Azizul
In Chin Kit’s own words:
Azizul used to be my school mate. We studied in the same school before. Now he is one of my best friends. Whenever I want to go to a public place I will call him and he will surely take a bus to come to my house. Then after that we will take a public taxi to travel wherever we want to go. When we get a taxi, he will help carry me in and out of my heavy wheelchair. When we are in public places, we live like normal people, window shopping, buying things, watching movies, and just hanging-out like normal people. So I'm very appreciative and I thank God to have a friend like Azizul. Hopefully our friendship will last forever.”

That encounter had a lasting impression on me. When I came home, I shared this experience with my husband.

Ram as he usually would, said something profound to me, “Do you know why they have such a strong friendship?

Why?”, I asked.

It is because they focus on their similarity, they share in their disability”.

Ram can’t be any more true. Discrimination happens when we magnify our differences. Race-based politics is all about highlighting our differences. Instead of celebrating our similarities as Malaysians, we discriminate and highlight our neighbour’s weaknesses and boast of our own strength. We falsely imagine that we could survive without others.

Chin Kit and Azizul knew their limitations and chose to embrace each other and celebrate their similarity. They know very well that their limitations would grow even more if they focus on their differences. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. They combine effort and have a good time! There is strength in unity.

Whether you are of Malay descent, or of Chinese, or of Indian, Kadazan, political, apolitical, young, old, businessman, professional, trader, community leader or just an ordinary resident – we need to remember this one truth: If as one people we begin to speak the same language, then nothing we plan to do will be impossible for us.

Those of us who are involved in community work will understand this concept full well. Nothing moves an inch when we are divided. In an urban township like Subang Jaya, if each of us becomes selfless and begins to look out for the interest of our neighbours, nothing will be impossible for us. We will be able to rid illegal dumping, stem the rising crime rate, eliminate double parking and many more cases of public nuisance which annoy and inconvenient others around us.

May we be humbled by the lesson learned from Chin Kit and Azizul. We need many more like them to make 1Malaysia a reality and not just a political motto.


ck said...

Simple yet enlightening! Agree that we need to focus on our similarities to have better unity.

I suppose our similarities includes the fact that most Malaysians want to live in a "better and more progressive" Malaysia.

Nevertheless, I suspect our answers to achieve progress will come from our differences - differences in our thinking, differnces in perspectives and differences in abilities..yet all towards a similar basic goal: a better future for ourselves.

As long as we embrace our differences to focus on our similar goals, we should be able to come up with better solutions always!

mengkungchng said...

Hi Hannah,

This wonderful story touched my heart and brought tears to my eyes.

Thank you for reminding us that we all belong to the same species, the homo sapien kind that God have wondrously made in His own image.

When we bless another another human being we bless God; likewise the opposite is also true.

You will be the YB for Subang Jaya forever.

Best wishes.

USJ43 said...

Ya,we also agree, but then the umno keep on reminding the rakyat about 'pendatang'and krismudin will remind us the bloody kris. None of us have this race problem when Tan Sri P Ramlee was around. I suggest you and your colleagues should organize more programs to defuse this racial situation.

th-chong, 3k

Jeyanthy Pillai said...

Lack of places of worship allocated to non-muslims is the reason why there are so many debates and issues on this topic.

It was so easy to build a place to worship during our forefathers days. Now they pre-allocate places of worship only to the muslims and forget other religions exist and need a place to worship.

In Seberang Jaya, the Penang government has allocated a whole area for places to worship for the non-muslims. There are about a dozen places of worship there. Why can't we do the same here in Subang Jaya?

There is land allocated for gas pipe in the USJ area. I heard it is now being allocated to build bumgalows. Hannah, why don't you work on getting a dozen lots and allocated it to places of worship for non-muslims? This way we can start to show how 1Malaysia works in Subang Jaya from the religion perspective.

Jeffrey Lee said...

Chin Kit & Azizul transcends beyond race colour & creed. When we were younger, we visited, dined, played & slept over in our friends home , be it Indian, Chinese, Sikhs or Malays because we shared similarities & respected differences. No need to wait for special days of Raya or not matter what.
Politics has sunken to gutter levels because most politicians use divide & rule tactics.
It is up to the common people to shun these ulterior motived polticians, to celebrate our true selves as friends,brothers and move beyond & above the puppeteers


pitamos said...

THIS IS SO INSPIRING. :) Will definitely pass it on!

Jason Lee CJ said...

Now that's really how 1Malaysia should be about!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing the true life story. If the government and media is genuine in their desire to promote unity and understanding, then there should be more such true stories in our newspapers as well as genuine discussions about our differences, similarities, fears and hopes for our future. Perhaps PR can start a website or blog to do what is not done in mainstream media.

Ramrod said...

i dont know abt u but i still think the disunity that is hyped about is more political than actual. I mean ask most malaysians and they will tell u their best frens of different races, neighbours, colleagues and most live quite happily with each other. By the way, i am very proud of chin kit - i used to be his teacher.

KoSong Cafe said...

Hannah,I was at Nik's Seri Setia open house with my wife, daughter Cheng and her ex-HELP classmate, Laks.

I would love to introduce her to you but she was pre-occupied with catching up with Laks since they last met. At school, one of her best friends was Tenmala, Dr. now. We live in Kg Malaiperumal, next to an Indian temple, in Batu Gajah. She used to wear Indian dress during the religious festivals.

Her colour-blindness was further proven when she is now good friends with a Zimbabwean couple and their son, Mufaro. She even baked a birthday cake for him.

When my nephew and family who live in London visited Cheng in Maastricht, their daughter, Jun was even bolder in making friends with Mufaro, which again proved her colour-blindness.

The reason I am relating this is that we are by nature, colour-blind but the race-based politicians have over time, made us what we are now. But there is now hope that more and more people can see the futility of carrying on with racial politics and supporting multi-racialism.

Banne said...

I'm very touched with this article. It reminds me of my childhood days when the thought of race never arised. Let our relationship be unconditional. I'm glad that my vote is rewarding. Keep up the fantastic performance, YB!

Anonymous said...

What a story Hannah!

Thank you for highlighting this. You should encourage the press to pick this up and publish it for all to read including the racist politicians.

My salutations to these 2 young Malaysians!


paddy said...

Hi Hannah.

Well written and really encouraging. That's the true Malaysian spirit and the groundlevel where it's at - as you said, not at a political level.

Thanks very much for your work and courage in Subang Jaya. If I were registered to vote in your constituency I would!

Anonymous said...

Tearing from reading this story, thanks

spottedleopard said...

A touching story...thank you for sharing it with us.

What a coincidence that Ram would mention about focusing on similarities. I have just read Paolo Coellho's "Like The Flowing River" and Paolo had a story on that same observation in one of the chapters (The Catholic and the Muslim). Let me share an excerpt from it:

..."It's a shame that people see only the differences that separate them. If you were to look with more love, you would mainly see what we have in common, then half the world's problems would be solved".

How very apt, don't you think?

YB, looking at all the wonderful things you are doing in Subang Jaya makes me half-sad and half-regret (ralat) moving to BJ, Shah Alam from USJ. After voting at SMK USJ12 in the last 3 PRUs (went up to you to shake your hand in the last one!), I will be voting in SA in the next one.

Congratulations on having done such a fantastic job thus far.

Carol said...

This is nothing unusual among disable community, unless they are rounded up according to their skin colour (this exist in the functions that BN organizes or generates. MCA. MIC. Very very racial centred – I never attend these functions – I get mental headache lah) I go for NGO. A good mixture, but few functions due to red tape & finances.

Anonymous said...

im they fren 2..

Anonymous said...


Thank you for sharing the wonderful story. This is indeed the true spirit of ONE MALAYSIA. It kind of reminded me of a song which I sang in church many years ago, "red, and yellow and black and white, all are precious in HIS sight, Jesus loves the little children of the world."

Anonymous said...

Hannah, love that quote on your blog heading. It is indeed the call that we've all been given, to live selfless lives. You are an encouragement!

Anonymous said...

Dear Hannah,
I am refering to my early comment about the USJ11/4 fencing and guarded.
I am feeling so sick of it. I really hate the idea and think stupid to be control by the security company and the contractor and the inconvenience it caused. Please stop the committee members from becoming more stupid.
Please get to the root how the gated community started : A stupid woman and man who committed adultery and were threaten by the woman's husband. To protect themself in the area they started this and to earn some extra income.

There were no hotline set up for any complaint or suggestion. The committee are acting on demand of a small group of people which is very unfair to the rest.
I am also worry about the security guards around this area. Please see that this area is safe with the gangster around so near.

Jeyanthy Pillai said...

If only we had 1School instead of the National medium schools, people will start respecting each other more. See how successful Singapore is in their education. If we had a English medium school where students are also taught their own language i.e. Tamil, Chinese etc up to secondary school, that would be really cool.

No school should include religious teachings, that should be done outside the school hours to be fair to all.

The students in my badge was the first to study in BM from standard one. When we entered university, we had lecturers from foreign countries who could only speak English. So we had a translator. (I did a course in Computer Science) After 4 years of being forced to know everything in BM, I started working and everything was in English!! Who would ever want to use the word "cakera padat' for "hard disc" or "cakera liut" for CD????

Life would have been so much better if the medium we are taught is in English....

And the syllabus for BM is so tough for the children. Did you see the UPSR paper this year? They don't have a group of words, 'simpulan bahasa' etc that can be tested for each level. The child is expected to know everything and anything.

And then when they go to the secondary school, they spend so much time studying about Malay history and geography that they hardly know anything about the world history or geography. We learnt so much during our time. We covered all the continents and widen our knowledge.

I really pity the future of our children...

bayi said...

This story tells a thousand things to us about humanity, touching us far deeper than all the expensive sloganeering of Najib's 1Malaysia campaign.

Neek said...

bugger u yb hannah...make me emo...=)

Gan said...

BeeN choose to focus on the differences so as to drive a wedge and fan up bad feelings amongst the different ethnic groups for them to divide and rule forever !

bnaipal said...

We have to admit the fact - race based politics is here to stay in Malaysia. This is the key to success for UMNO politicians – divide and rule. The Malays have to reject the corrupt practices of UMNO if they want to progress united as one Malaysian society. However, UMNO has made the Malays so dependent on handouts amid protectionism that the new Malay generation does not know independent living. By making Isa a candidate for the by-election, Najib has clearly shown that he will accept corruption as a means to an end. Whichever Malaysian votes for Isa is legitimising corruption in Malaysia.
Every Malaysian should realize that we are all ‘pendatangs’. The Orang Asli still living in primary jungles are the true bumiputras. Till UMNO politicians jump around on stage like flea infested hooligans with their drawn kris, addressing the Chinese and Indians as pendatangs, there will be no 1Malaysia. Till the Government takes immediate action on scavenging religious fanatical bigots carrying severed cow heads in a procession escorted by the corrupt PDM, 1Malaysia will remain a myth.

Bangsa Cina Malaysia said...

a blessing in disguise for Pakatan they will have to work more harder as a team/coalition
in confronting an awaken BN...

to all the DAP adun of NS....
this is a wake up call...
without the Malay vote DAP-PAS-PKR is nothing....

Jeannette L Tai said...

Thank you Hannah for sharing tis story. Brought tears to my eyes. It really saddens me to see the segregation in our society nowadays. When I was in school back in the 60s and 70s, my 2 best friends were a Malay girl (Noriza) and an Indian girl (Gowrie). We were so happy just to be together and proud to project the "Muhibbah" spirit. We celebrated every festival without pride or prejudice.
What has happened? Indeed under the different colours of our skin, we all bleed and we all have the same Creator.
How it must hurt Him to see what human beings can do to one another.
Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

Bless Citizen Nades of the Sun, he highlighted your article 11 of Speak Up!
A Bond which is colour blind.

Anonymous said...

humanity must strive to be colour blind.... some in fact have achieve that. thank you YB for highlighting them... and also for citizen nades who have further enhanced the circulation of this great story. Kudos to Azizul and Chin Kit. May God bless you both.