Few days ago, me and a friend met each other in Bukit Bintang. He said he had a training and by the end of the training he wanted to have dinner together.
While we were talking, we somehow talked about something interesting. It is about the diversity of our country, Malaysia. The topic was sparked along this line.
“What do you think about mixed marriage?”
I asked that question. He said he is not sure. Then I added.
It is funny that we live in a multiracial country but I don’t see the we as one nation. We don’t have this Malaysian spirit in us. I don’t know how to speak in Chinese. Nor in Indian. I can only speak Bahasa Malaysia and English. Shouldn’t it be something like I know how to speak all those three languages. Perhaps even more if we include Sabah and Sarawak too.
Somehow mixed marriage from my observation are something common now but the acceptance for such cases are still low. Some parents are not comfortable to allow their children to marry someone with different racial background. I know it is not easy, especially when you are marrying a Malay Muslim here.
I remembered when I shared an article to my friends about mixed marriage. It was a group chat and I was the only Muslim. One of the main reason they do not want to marry a Muslim guy is because the guy can marry four women at a time.They also need to convert to Islam.
To me, it is a great sacrifice for someone to convert, a lot bigger when parents doesn’t give their consent. There were two news this year regarding mixed marriage that made it to the local news frontpage. One couple have their parents blessing and the other did not.
There are other things as well that I can’t understand why it still exist, such as national type school. I know that even if you are not Chinese or Indian, you can enter the school. Why can’t we just make it one national school? I had my primary school in the city, all of us gathered and have fun together and race doesn’t matter. That school somehow made me feel Malaysian.
We also lack in racial knowledge towards each other. Each races has their own tradition and customs. Somehow, it is still not a common sense for Malaysian. Something like Malay don’t eat pork or Indian don’t eat beef. So much things we don’t know about each other.
Not to mention that some people still believes in racial statements and stereotype. I believe we are not lacking in nationalism, but we lack in understanding towards each other. Why can’t we be someone who understand and respect each other? Is it because of how we raised? How our politic works? Our surrounding?
To be united and true Malaysian. There are few things that we need to do and it is not unity alone. It has to be done as early as possible through education. We must come up with a syllabus that can educate our children and introduce them to the unique culture of Malaysia. We must teach them how important it is to be open minded, accepting, respecting and grow in diverse community.We may have different colors and religions. We were born in the same soil of Malaysia.
In commemorating our 60th years of Independence, I wish in the next 50 years during my old life and my grandchildren life. I am still alive to see Malaysia that embraced their identity and we are united as real Malaysian. A Malaysian in the future knows how to respect other Malaysian, knows the core languages that made Malaysia multiracial and we can stand proud together without any conflicts. We are living in the same house but understand each other needs.
This is #negaraku Malaysia. I am a proud Malaysian and I hope you do too.
After his failed attempt in getting closer to Teressa Ling. Mr. Lifeless can’t wait to look forward for the next class this week so he can finally get to know Teressa Ling better.
“I’m not giving up. She responded to me quite friendly. I believe that is my chance!”
Mike was not amused that morning and feel annoyed by Mr. Lifeless.
“Well dude, I’m sure you will get your chance later. So, can you please shut up about Teressa Ling already? I’ve been enduring your yapping and blabbing about her since last week! It was your dumb fault for not confirming her Facebook account. Not to mention that you even went through the whole list and still can’t find her.” Mike fasten his steps to the class. He opened the door and quickly to his seat, ditching Mr. Lifeless behind him.
“You need to chill, dude.”
As soon as Mr. Lifeless entered the room, he quickly scanned for the figure he wanted to see. The figure of a girl that has caught his attention. The figure of Teressa Ling.
“She is not here… Is she late?”
He walked through the usual seat that Teressa Ling usually seated and take his seat besides Mike.
“Mike, she is not here today?” He asked.
Mike pulling a straight face after he took a deep sigh. He ignored Mr. Lifeless and showing the sign of ultimate disappointment in his friend.
“No wonder you were called Lifeless.”
“Dude… What’s wrong with you? I’m trying to have a ‘life’ here and get rid of this unbearable title. The whole class called me Lifeless plus the whole lecturers that teaches us called me that.” He looked at Mike with dissatisfied face.
Without paying attention, Mike just pulled out his notebooks and ignored him completely.
The class went on without any sign of Teressa Ling. Mr. Lifeless feels disappointed because he was looking forward to meet her again. To endure a week made him feels like a year of waiting. He needs to do something. He can’t wait for another week just to meet her.
Suddenly, an idea sparked in his head. Why don’t he just asks her friend about her. Why not? He just need a little bravery like he pulled off last time. That moment of courage that will bear fruits. He is sure of it.
“Alright!” He shouted and the class suddenly turned dead silent.
The lecturer turned around and looking at Mr. Lifeless.
“Yes, Mr. Lifeless? You have anything to share with the whole class today? I would be so happy if you can come here and explain this chapter to your friends. Of course I am willing to give you extra marks.
All the eyes in the class are on him. He smiled and scratch his head.
“Eheh… Nothing ma’am. Keep on going and I am sorry for disturbing the class. Eheh…”
The lecturer turned back to the white board and continue on explaining the subject which Mr. Lifeless don’t even know which subject are they discussing about right now.
After the lecturer left the class. Mr. Lifeless rushed to the group of girls that was seen with Teressa Ling last week.
“Hi, excuse me. Teressa Ling is not here today?” His voice was a little shaky.
“Oh, the lover boy… Yeah, she was unable to attent the class today.” A girl answered him.
“I see. Uhmm… Can you help me? How can I contact her?” He said it. He said the shameful sentence and made him feels like he is one with no shame at all.
“Hey, I thought she gave you her Facebook account last week. You didn’t contact her there?” Said another girl in the group.
“I couldn’t find the right Teressa Ling on Facebook. That’s why…” His face definitely showed disappointment.
“Okay fine.” Said the first girl who answered her.
“Hey? Is it okay to give him?” The second girl showed her doubt.
“It’s going to be fine. Teressa needs some spices in her life too. Okay, I will give you her number but if I hear anything about you doing something stupid… I WILL EAT YOU! UNDERSTAND?” She suddenly gave Mr. Lifeless the impression of Death choking him by his neck slowly.
“Err… Certainly!” Mr. Lifeless was unsure how to reply her.
After he received the number from the girl. He quickly saved the number and stared the phone screen.
“Should I call her now? Or should I call her later? What should I do? Gosh… I can’t make up my mind. I don’t care! I’ll just do it now!”
He tap on the phone with the call icon and the number connected. Then, the called was picked up.
“Hello, Teressa Ling?” Said Mr. Lifeless.
“Hello?” He heard a deep voice from the other side of the phone.
He was confused. Why would there be a guy’s voice? Who is this guy? Did the girl give him the wrong number? Questions flinging one by one inside his head and he freezes instantly.