Friday, September 16, 2011

Merdeka Life at 54...or so to say.

Happy Birthday Malaysia.

My grandparents - father's side - made his way into Tanah Melayu from Sumatera...and settled down in Parit Lapis Mahang, Batu Pahat.
My grandparents - mum's side - made it all the way from Southern Thai and settled down in Kampung Tonjos, Pekan Jabi, Segamat.
Johor is the state where most of my family lives in, so Johorian we are....but I was born in Melaka due to the better hospital services available in the 1970's....frankly I am not sure whether I can claim that I am a Johorian because I didn't spend much of my life there!
...but I tend to try to "understand" Sarawak so much more ever since my teenage days, though I must admit Sarawak seems like a foreign entity too far away when I was a kid. Even the whole family seems to mark it as quite an alien state, to be honest.
I spent my teenage years in Perak, only back in Segamat for school breaks. Then I stayed in Kuala Lumpur campus of my university for the most of the days in my 20's. When I started working, I could spend only weekends or holidays in Johor.
I guess most of my life is actually away from my (supposedly) home state - Johor - thus why I can't really claim I am a Johorian 100%.

...but on this day, I can admit that I do "understand" what it means to be least in my own way...whether I am in Segamat, Johor, or Kuching, Sarawak...merdeka carries the same meaning to me...

In this country, the presence of harmony across the multi-ethnics citizens really matters.
I appreciate the presence of Uncle Goh who'd come and visit my Almarhum Pak Uda when I was very young....especially when Uncle Goh brings some sweet cakes during Chinese New Year...wrapped in pink paper. I would enjoy eating it on the "pangkin" of Almarhum Pak Uda's place, sometimes with him, sometimes with my cousins. Uncle Goh and Almarhum Pak Uda were good buddies.
I had an Indian friend that went on the same bus to kindergarten. The bus towkey was Ah Che - very friendly, fatherly guy....he'd help every single kid on his bus to cross the street on the pick-up/ drop-off spot if the location is on the opposite side of the road. The Indian kid was Ganesan. We shared sweets and whatever we had as we walked back to our kampung house from kindergarten. I never had any quarrel with him. Never.

I have not met Ganesan nor the bus driver Ah Che since I started Standard One....where most of the students were Malays since it was a sekolah kebangsaan. However, I had some good Chinese and Indians friends...Low Yew Hoa, Chan Tiam Fatt, Yai Ban Tat, Chew Nai Sian, Chiew Teck Wee, Eddie Hong, Melvin Liew Kwan Tai, Tai Siew Shen, Patrick Goh, Sivarajah, Vigneswaran...

Then I went to a boarding school in Perak, I had no other friends than the Malays BUT I had my first experience to have friends from every states in Malaysia, including Sabah & Sarawak.
Just to name one in each state:
Johor - Aidi Mohamed.
Melaka - M Amin Yunus.
Negeri Sembilan - Khairul Amin Awang.
Kuala Lumpur - Nahzamri Zainal Abidin - we went to the same boarding school, somehow ended in the same university....and company until I left in 2009!
Selangor - Muhd Azmil Mahayudin.
Perak - Mohd Fahmi Sohot.
Kedah - Ermal Aswardy Abd Rahim.
Penang - Johan Ahmad.
Perlis - Nazran Basirun.
Kelantan - Zailani Zain.
Terengganu - Khairul Emran Chik Aziz Badli.
Pahang - Sheikh Mohd Faridz Sheik Salleh.
Sabah - Awangku Mohd Ridzwan.
Sarawak - Isham Alwaddy Bujang.

....the truth is we all know each other very well - the whole 117 of the first batch and later as we entered form four, the rest of the newcomers....and I started learning the dialects of every state in this country.

...but I still remember my primary school friends, even till today...and thanx to FaceBook we managed to find each other and started to be in touch with each other again.

Recently, there's just too much noise about those who contributed to merdeka, Bukit Kepong heroes (or not), halal and non-halal issues....and with the politicians trying to get a piece of air-time in whatever possible media...things have been quite a havoc...and the mainstream media is not helping much at all. Good thing we have the internet...otherwise with all the news from mainstream media, we'd probably be in quite a mayhem already.

....but for me and my buddies, we're still buddies as we were when we were just kids.
Let the politicians do what they do best - nothing!
We appreciate and respect our differences. We might not all be the citizens of Malaysia (some migrated) but we took our first baby-steps on the soil of this country. Whatever it is, we are what we are and Malaysia is part of our history. We love the country....and would want to be buddies for the rest of our life...and we would love to have our kids to become friends too....and where else could that be beautifully happening but in this country that have been our place since we were kids?

If we still cannot learn live together in harmony, learn to appreciate, accept and tolerate the differences between our religions, cultures and traditions....might as well stop shouting 1Malaysia...well actually it is just Malaysia, as far as me & my buddies see it....because we have always been living together as one.

Anyway, in this world...we do not just have one country to live in....the choice is always there.

To all my childhood buddies - where ever you are - selamat hari Malaysia to you all!
Perhaps we could have a teh tarek and roti of these days.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

So, It is Eidulfitri.

Berziarah dan berkumpul di musim raya sepatutnya menambah pahala dan BUKAN mencipta pelbagai dosa melalui mata & lisanmu. Bukan pula medan menunjuk kemampuan diri, apatah lagi untuk membanding dirimu dengan orang lain, sama ada pada besarnya kenderaan, hebatnya pakaian, meriahnya hiasan, jumlah duit raya & harta. Redhalah dengan apa yang sedang kamu miliki, jangan sesekali merasa diri ‘lebih' atau ‘kurang'. Bebaskan diri dari rantaian kebanggaan & kehinaan kerana pemilikan duniamu.

So, It is Eidulfitri.
We celebrated in Segamat. For 4 days. Then off to Melaka for a holiday.
Had a good break from the routine that has taken quite a toll on my life...and the family, I believe.

Probably the most uneventful eid of my life, this year.
Everything I did is not right. Nothing seems to be right for me right now.

Started sending my resume to whatever job title that I think is interesting.....