What Makes Malaysia, Malaysia

作者: Wan Dayana

Friends. What is the meaning of friends for individuals like us? Some might understand that friends are the people you meet along the way throughout your journey, through ups and downs. I believe that is the case, for me. I was lucky to experience three different environments and meet a lot of people, which in some stay, some do not. These three different environments taught and showed me how it feels to be a Malaysian and how important our respect, kindness and connection towards people, no matter the religion or races. I stumbled across a video just few days ago, and the person in the minority mentioned that people like me, Malays often used these minorities to prove to people that they are not racist, but when it comes to fighting for the minority’s rights’, they pretend that they know nothing about it. It opened my eyes, how even in the 21st century, we never learned to accept one another. It is all for a show. 

Just before the COVID-19 cases started to rise again in early May, I was happy that I had the chance to go to campus, feel the life of a university student, exploring my freedom, meeting new people. And during that time as well, it was during the fasting month. Before my friends and I going back for Raya holidays, we managed to have a gathering, to breakfast together and it made me so happy and proud how my non-Muslim friends were fasting and break the fast together with us Muslims. It was a challenge for them as they mentioned that they are able to drink water at the very least when they fast. We exchanged information on our beliefs and culture and at that point, I know for sure that I was learning something new.

It reminded me back when I was in high school, where I experienced the first three years in a public school and the last two years in MRSM. These two environments showed me how people act differently with those who does not look the same like us. Though, this was back before COVID-19, I learned a lot. My friends in public school taught me their language, the Tamil language, even though it was all bad words, but it was fun. I even had the chance to go for their Deepavali celebration. I tasted their traditional sweets and bakes, in which is something that I miss, knowing now that we would not have this kind of chance again. During Raya celebration as well, we would gather up at my house, eating rendang, talking and enjoying all the time we have. I am glad that I am still here, learning about all this because some people always take it for granted.

While, in MRSM, all were Malays and there was only one Indian girl, one of my closest friends. We were not close on my first year there, as we both lived in different dorms but after I moved in into the third level of the F block, her bed was across mine and we became inseparable since then. Slowly after months getting to know each other, she told me that she was lonely back then. Although she had friends, but she never had “friends”. No one dared to spend time with her, but I am guessing that they just did not know how. She practically lived her 4 years of her boarding life, studying, sleeping, a repeatable life cycle. 

These kinds of interactions please me, knowing at the fact that if we take a chance of leap to learn, we will get the answer and learn something new. In the year that we live in now, people seem to be stuck with the people who look like them, speak the same language as them which in the future, it will be a problem. We would not know how to communicate because we never try. This is the mentality of Malaysians that we need to change. We are scared to try. You do not have to be an extrovert to talk to someone and understand. As long as we open our hearts, eyes, and minds, we will achieve anything in the world. 

We all live by one purpose, to survive. Should not we survive and work together rather than fight against one other and lose the sense of uniqueness of the country that we call Malaysia?

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