Belonging to a multiracial family and growing up in a predominantly Chinese environment made several things clear to me:
- Every race is important and valuable.
- No race is supreme to the other
- We should make the effort to cross-borders and understand
- The world is smaller than you think
Though I hate crowded pasar malams, I love watching how different races coexist and interact. It's nice to watch Chinese youngsters frequent the Nasi Ayam stall, manned by Pak Cik. It probably warms Pak Cik's heart that his food is well received by them. "If only halal wasn't an issue for us, ..." he hints with a loud "Datang lagi, yeh"..
It puts a smile on my face watching how the Malay housewife bargains her fruits with the Chinese uncle, who playfully teases her in the process, with broken "Malayu". His wife chips in a couple of Chinese nutritional remedies for kak's type 1 Diabetes - an after sale gesture of "thanks for buying my fruits."
And how interacial couples, hold hands and stroll aimlessly and peacefully, bearing no hint of racial anomalies in their homefront. Their Malay-looking children, beaming with emotional security. You can tell that they're educational needs are well taken care off, by the thick buku rujukan in the little girl's hands while she trails her love-struck parents.
Perhaps only in Malaysia, this happens. Where all three races live in harmony. But wait, we've forgotten our Bangladeshi brothers, the Myanmaries, Indons, Nepalis, Filipinos, Thais, Caucassians, Indians from India, Africans, Middle Easterns, Russians, the list goes on. These, in my heart and mind are also first class citizens in Malaysia. They should be treated the same - with respect, humility and genuine love. They're eligible for the harmony our government's trying to forge.
Sadly, I know that deep within the veins of ethnic pride, racialistic thinking shades and shapes a person's bias. This disease carries on in society, a silent killer. That no matter how multiracial we seem and aspire to be - something whispers caution and our defenses are erected. Break those walls down. We should've grown up by now. We share the the same blood colour for crying out loud.
My ideal work environment would be one comprising different races. My ideal family would be one with a heart for racial harmony. Borrowing a response from a friend, "anyone I marry would be someone out of my race." (am trying to figure out what I am, beyond the obvious). My ideal world would be one without defenses, biasses, pretense. Culture-less.
Nothing nasty happened that prompted me to write this. Have been mulling over this issue for quite some time and thought it would be worth a mention on my weblog. I get annoyed by people who use race as a yardstick for any decision. I see the dark side of racial interaction - how it marres corporate promotions, how it hinders marriages from taking place, how it aggreviates road accidents. But I also witness the good side ala "pasar malam" episodes, here and there, every once in a while. Really, understanding and intentional love is key.