Malaysia Day: Malaysian by heart vs Malaysian by paper

HAJAR UMIRA MD ZAKI
HAJAR UMIRA MD ZAKI
18 Sep 2022 01:09pm
The diversity in Malaysia taught us about respect and the spirit of togetherness photo by Bernama
The diversity in Malaysia taught us about respect and the spirit of togetherness photo by Bernama
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If you think being a Malaysian is fun, think again.

How do you feel about having Malay as the first language? How do you feel about having to wear baju kurung or batik printed outfits every Thursday? Or to see people having nasi lemak in the morning?

I mean, there are coffee and breads, why must there be rice? Not forgetting, the recent hot topic of the former prime minister and his wife were sentenced to jail due to embezzlement related to millions of dollars.

How embarrassing, right? Well, jokes aside.

What are the things or moments that make you feel Malaysian? Do you consider yourself Malaysian because of the blue identification card that you carry in your wallet or the nasi lemak you consume almost every other morning?

Well, trust me being a Malaysian is definitely more than that. What is important is what we hold onto.

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The diversity of Malaysians - people of all races and religious belief, how tolerate and respect one another, as well as how we know what is sensitive and insenstives towards one another.

However, lately there has been many Malaysians going abroad for better opportunities - some call it the Big Brain Drain while others just need a fresh start amidst the economic downturn.

This question thus comes into play does the geographical location and language you utter play a role in determining your Malaysian-ness?

Malaysia is where people queued up in front of a Milo truck to get free drinks and add jargons behind the sentences like ‘lah’ or even calling strangers ‘brother’ and ‘uncle’.

There is also the sense of pride that we are able to communicate in more than just one language; we have the mother tongue - Bahasa Malaysia, then everyone has their own native language and on top of English, the language of our former colonisers.

The ability to simply switch languages in mid-sentences has always been a charm many enjoy. Malaysians are also applaud for our capability to respect one another regardless of the obvious religious differences and beliefs, we share our cultures, food and festivals and we love it.

For myself as a writer, what makes me feel Malaysian by heart is how I feel comfortable when I feel I have somewhere that I can return to and I can sit at the same table regardless of the race and religions.

It’s about respecting each other and living in a diversity that taught me so much about accepting and being considerate within the community. As time passes, our country did not escape modernisation and development leaving us with a sea of monuments, attractions and destinations.

Not only that, the fight for the country’s independence also left us a rich history, culture and physical fragments as proof that we have been able to move pass pain and destruction.

We now enjoy a comfortable life, much more comfortable than other countries and be united front. And although there are moments you feel like running away, there is nothing like that the place you call home.

Being a Malaysian should never be just the blue identification card you hold but also embrace it to the bones.

The uniqueness of our country and our people must be continued so Malaysia could never be lost in the modernisation and influence.

We were lost and colonised before, we can never be colonised twice.

Lastly, we must also stand with those who are still trying to be “officially” Malaysian despite feeling the same love for the country and experiencing the same childhood as we did due to ancient and bias laws hindering their mothers from passing on her citizenship to them just because she gave birth in beyond Malaysian borders with a non-Malaysian father.

May Malaysia be showered with peace, health and wealth!