Wednesday, August 23, 2006
project happy malaysia
If we talk about racial integration in this country, we can pinpoint many root causes of the problems - from the schooling system, to the language we speak, and even the food we eat. What a lot of people do not realise is the fact that we tend to segregate ourselves when choosing housing areas.
Most residential areas are very racially biased for one reason or another. My house is PJ is a predominately Chinese area with some Indian houses dotting the area. You can find Malay houses, but only in one particular section of the housing area. Things are not much different in Hicksville where I am now. The main city is densely populated with Chinese houses but the smaller towns surrounding the city are probably 95% Malay houses. I am the only Chinese that I have seen in my whole neighbourhood, and I have yet to spot an Indian face.
About a month before I moved to Hicksville to take up this new job offer, I came up here with my family to survey the area and to check out possible accomodation options. While looking around the smaller satelite towns surrounding my workplace, and giving opinions on where to look, my dad kind of surprised me by saying that I should find a place where there were at least SOME Chinese in the neighbourhood and not one that was entirely populated by Malays alone.
What seemed like a random statement actually rung an uneasy tone in my ears. We can progress light years ahead our time in terms of technological development, but if we, as Malaysians lack the simplest understanding of each other's race, then we would be a developed country by an economic measure, but retarded by a social measure.
Still, that statement was in a way justifiable coming from a man who had a near brush with Death in 1969. Wounds can heal, but scars never fade I guess. I understand a so-called 'racist' opinion in a person like that, but what I cannot understand is why people of my generation - who have not experienced the war, who were not around in 1969, who did not fight the communist - grow up to be racist when the only so-called 'injustice' they can speak off are the university places they did not get.
The other day when people around were talking about Article 11 (the Muslim and non-Muslim fanatics alike), and things were supposedly getting a little tensioned, my dad, knowing that the area I live in is populated entirely by Malays told me to listen closely to the radio and monitor the Internet (he meant blogs - although I didn't really know whether he was refering to Papa Smurf) closely. "First sign of a racial riot," he said, "take your car and get out of there!" I would like to think it as a preposterous warning, but again, this was a man who narrowly avoided a Molotov cocktail the last time Malaysians took to the streets to butcher each other.
Then, the other day, my parents visited me for the first time since I moved into this new house. They approved of my (clean) house but I know Dad had some reservations about the area. On the morning of their second day, as I was getting ready to go to work, Dad came home from his morning walk around the area and he was beaming all around.
"What's up Dad?"
"Your neighbours......they are all very nice! I walked around the whole neighbourhood, and everybody I saw while walking past their houses.........they all waved at me and wished me Selamat Pagi! ALL OF THEM!"
"Well, yeah. Kampung folks are like that la. Very friendly one."
Since that day, he never mentioned the supposed racial issues in my housing area again. For my father, that is as good as an A-class approval.
Call me a sucker for sappy stories, because I think this is one.
Call me simplistic, but I think something small and minute can actually make a huge impact on a man.
Call me a Malaysian, for that story brought a smile to my face while writing about it - and you know, I hope it did the same for you.
I know everybody had fun with last year's project because that is what it was - FUN. I toyed with the idea of something as fun as that this year, but then I noticed that in the past one year, many many new bloggers have emerged - most of them the so-called 'social-political' bloggers. On any given day, scanning through PPS and reading posts by these people would give you the impression that we are living in Sudan or Lebanon.
You can accuse me of being idealistic, but I've said it a million times - anybody who doesn't know the problems we face in this country isn't a Malaysian. People accuse me of being a government crony or a simplistic kid just because I hate listening to crap about my country. Don't get me wrong - I KNOW there is a lot of crap going on, but what good is it talking about an issue when we have no solid solution to suggest?
Those stories depress me deeply, and I don't like being depressed, since it doesn't quite fit into my character as a happy-chappy. And so, I decided, for this year, my project would be to make Malaysia, happy. You see, above all the complaints of racism, there are simple stories like this that warms your heart. Above all the complaints of corruption, there are powerful stories like this that bring a smile to your face.
We all have a story to tell - else we would not be Malaysians. I do not for one second believe that in all our time in this country we do not have a heart warming story about Malaysia from our own personal experience. It can be anything that contradicts the general (bad) stereotype - stuffs like a clean cop, an efficient government servant, and a considerate Penang-driver.
Whatever it is, tell us the story! I want to compile a list like I did last year, so do leave a comment if you intend on doing it on Merdeka Day (or heck, any other day). I will check your blog on Merdeka Day and publish the complete list here. Spread the word, folks!
In fact, as long as it brought a smile to your face as you were writing it, I would like to think this project a success.
Edit: 40 people took part in this year's project. For the story compilation, click here.
loving the idea.
We need more happy news :) Perhaps we should a Happy Newspaper, where everyday people log in to read some happy and touching news, and would be more relevant if written by Malaysian or it happens here. Whenever we are sad or depress with all the bad news around here, come here to get some Happy News :)
Perhaps not just racism, but I like your Happy Project :)
btw, if i can think of something, i'm in...
Should I break out the green fanta now, or later?
I have some facts of my own too. For instance,
69.69% of morons have small penises/flat tits
87.305% of anonymous commentors are under 12 years old
4 of 5 emails you get are written by Martians
98% of things you read on the Internet is RUBBISH
I'll research more facts later so that our anonymous friend can go spread the joy through his email
I appreciate the ideal of this project but being an overtly optimistic Malaysian ONCE a year is not beneficial. Especially with so many wrongs going on and the people we elected's nonchalant and refrain from dealing til the next election build-up. Can't be expected to smile when you're being rob and labled a 'Kaum Pendatang' in your own country.
I think I rather leave the 'happy' part of being a Malaysian to Yasmin's Petronas campaigns. At least she gets paid and she does it much better than any of us.
Nevertheless i wish this project well.
The point here is, beyond all thats wrong are things that are right. Who called you a pendatang? Some random asshole on the street? I have loads of Malay friends, none of whom would ever say that to me to the face.
Whose fault is it then?
Just as important as it is to realize pessimism is necessary so that we will strive to improve, so it just as vital that we all recognize the need to be optimistic when the time calls for it.
This is not a 'just once a year' event, and many of us stand for this almost all the time, that much is apparent. But I'm glad you have well-wishes. *hugs*
i'm in, i'm in!
although, i'm not sure if what i'll be attempting to write fits in with the theme, but i think it's somewhere there.
giving it a try.
i'm in! i cant rmb when was the last time i truly celebrated Merdeka day for it's true one and only purpose (other than no classes, late night out for countdown, blablabla)
this definitely caught my attention, so count me in!!cant wait to read the other stories as well.man, i love this country (emo-patriotism).
saya telah membuktikannya. saya tidak mengamuk dan masih boleh tersenyum tanpa mengharapkan apa-apa ketika merasa amat sukar dan terganggu apabila jalan di Batu Caves yang tidak jauh dari rumah saya tersekat teruk setiap kali perayaan Thaipusam.
saya cukup kuat untuk bertolak ansur. Itu kepercayaan mereka. Mereka dengan ugama mereka dan saya dengan 'aqidah saya.
Malah, walaupun tidak pernah mengharapkan apa-apa dari Lim Kit Siang, saya masih boleh memanggil Uncle kepadanya (kadang-kadang saya memanggilnya Sifu) kerana menghormatinya sebagai seorang yang lebih tua dari saya. Menghormati pengalaman dan kesungguhannya memperjuangkan apa yang dia yakini.
saya pernah menjawab panggilan telefon darinya dengan perasaan yang amat kecewa kerana kami tidak dibenarkan mengadakan ceramah di tempat yang kami rancangkan - ceramah untuk membantah keputusan memenjarakan anaknya Lim Guan Eng yang ketika itu dikatakan bersalah akibat kenyataannya terhadap Tan Sri Rahim Thamby Chik.
Ketika saya amat bersimpati kepada Guan Eng yang akan malangkah ke dalam kurungan di penjara, bersama-sama dengan Haji Mohamad Sabu, saya pernah makan semeja dengannya. Sambil mengisi perut yang lapar di Restoran Thaqwa di Seri Gombak, kami bagaikan meratapi nasib yang menimpanya.
Bukan dalam situasi seperti itu sahaja. saya pernah tidak tidur di dalam perjalanan keretapi balik ke Taiping. Bersembang dengan begitu teruja, makan bersama-sama di kantin dalam keretapi itu dan kemudian sama-sama menghisap rokok dengan mendiang P Patto sehinggalah dia turun di Ipoh. Ketika saya berkeras mahu membayar harga makanan, Patto mengangkat suara kepada saya, "Apa! hang ingat aku dah kalah, aku tak dak duit dah?"
Patto ketika itu baru sahaja kalah dalam memperjudikan nasibnya melawan Datuk Seri Samy Vellu di Sungai Siput.
Jika tidak datang dari hati saya, saya tidak akan mampu bersembang-sembang dengan begitu mesra dengan Patto. saya tidak perlu berlakon untuk melakukan semua itu. Sejak dari kecil lagi, saya diajar oleh mak dan pak saya untuk hidup dengan orang-orang bukan Islam tanpa membenci mereka.
Tidak kira sama ada ketika keluarga saya tinggal di Batu 14, Batu Kurau atau di Batu 6, Changkat Jering atau di Matang, orang-orang Melayu di situ tidak pernah membuat sikap lembu kenyang seperti tidak ada apa-apa berlaku apabila orang Cina atau Hindu mengalami kemalangan jalan raya umpamanya (di sana kami tak panggil orang India, tapi Hindu). Kami menolong dengan rela. Kami tidak perlu berlakon untuk melakukannya.
Sehingga hari ini pun, this self-proclaimed extremist, tidak perlu berlakon untuk bermanis muka dengan orang-orang bukan Islam di negara ini. Dan, saya merasa sungguh puas!