Monday, May 6, 2013

Win or Loose, Everyone Lost Today

I don't like blogging about serious stuff in my blog, my preference has always been my traveling experience, recipes I love or places I've eaten. But, this is different . Today is not the usual normal day, cause we are all experience post effect of GE13.

I was raised in a low income family. My parents had to work and I was sent to live with my Arwah Grandmom (Wan). I was only 2 months old, together with me was my Arwah Grandad(Atok) and Arwah Great Grandmom (Nyang). My Nyang is a chinese came from Indonesia, in a province called Kerinchi. My Nyang was a perfectionist, what I was told. She is very particular about cleanliness and instill good values to all her kids and grandkids. Praying 5 times a day, learning Quran and respect all Allah's creation are some of the important values she taught us. She passed away when I was about 5 years old, few years after my Atok passed away. 

I stayed with my parents when I was 6 years old onwards. My dad(Abah) worked for the national carrier in their cabin services and in charge of the catering. Abah is not well educated, but very hardworking. He further his study using his own money and very particular about education for my brothers and I. While my mom worked in Operation theater, in a hospital. We hardly get to see both of our parents as they worked shift hours. Sometimes they come back or left while we were asleep. We have been taught to take care of ourselves since we don't have a maid. I started cooking when I was only 8 years old. We do our own laundry, clean the house among other chores. So, you can see, my parents worked hard to make ends meet. Alhamdulilah, that supported us through school and college.

We live in a multiracial area in Kelana Jaya. On the left and front of our house are malay families. They have kids about my age. We walked to school together, go to playground and played in front of our houses. Fasting month is the best month, we need to cook one dish and get few dishes in return. On our right is a chinese family, we called the Aunty Nyonya. Despite knowing me since I was really small, she still calls me Lisa instead of Liza. I can recall she screamed when it rain "Lisa angkat kain, hujan hujan". My mom told me, even after I moved out from the house, she still called my name when it rain. Her family took care of us when my parents are not around. Knowing we must consume only halal food, sometimes she walked to nearest stall and bought us Nasi Campur. Chinese New Year is the time we always look forward to, we get our up, close and personal experience with Lion Dance. Nyonya have this every year. Until the day she passed away about 3 years ago, every year without fail she will give ang pau to my kids and present on my birthday. We also have one Indian neighbour we call Achi. This vegetarian family made the best murukku I have ever tasted. I still remember every morning she will be in front of her house plucking flowers for her prayers. All this individuals, I never see them as their race, they are all people I know and totally can relate to.

I went to school in Kelana Jaya until Form 3. I have many friends, again from all races. We played together, have fun sometimes getting ourselves in trouble and defended each other when one of us get caught. There are Din, Reza, Azlina, Irma, Noni, Chan Yoke San,Tan Kian Teck, Lim Lay Heong, Edward, Li Ping, Murugan to name a few. When I was in Form 2, majority of my schoolmates are chinese. I learned little bit of Cantonese with my friends as teachers. Of course there's swear word :). I watched Man In The Net and this one police chineses series, forgot the name. We will then talk about it at school, all of us, malay, chinese, Indian and there were other races too. All this individuals, I never see them as their race, they are all people I know and totally can relate to.

I then went to MRSM and then to college. Though in MRSM, we have people from other races in our batch. I remember I have a friend name Sulochna. I have one chinese friend, I can't remember her name. I also have friends from Sabah and Sarawak. Despite being the so called minority, they are all really smart and always in top of the class. I never hear any of us mocking them or belittling them just because we don't come from the same race or religion. We eat together, share the same library and school fields. When I entered college, I have this good friend name Cynthia. She is a devoted Christian. I remember when we go to Subang Parade, she will stop by this Christian shop to buy things there. I will wait outside. When I have to stop for prayer, she will wait for me to finish. Never we speak or try to influence each other about our religion. We are just best friends, who share the same passion i.e music. Until now, I still go to her house when she comes back from Dublin for Christmas and she will hang out with me when she is back in KL. I was happy finally I get to visit her in Dublin. I also have other friends I know from college, Muru, Puva, Ilham, Kay, Siew Sim, Jasbir, Tony to name a few. All this individuals, I never see them as their race, they are all people I know and totally can relate to..

I started my working life. When I finished my study, it was during the financial crisis. It was so difficult to get a job. I went for a walk in interview with Maxis and landed a job in Call Center. I worked what we call graveyard shift before I get to work in regular shift. I got promoted twice and enjoyed my work there. . For the past 15 years, I have worked with about 4 companies and landed job there based on normal recruitment process. In all those places, I got promoted several time. I would like to believe I got promoted is purely because of my merit, and not because I was born a malay. I also believe the same reason I got hired. I made a lot of friends, Ungku, Siti Aminah, Swaran, Shikin, Rita, Nexly, Azni, Belinda, Wati, Maryam Wong, Priya, Veera, Jeremy, Allan to name a few. All this individuals, I never see them as their race, they are all people I know and totally can relate to.

And now I have embarked in another journey. My Masters program. I have 16 people in my class, consist of people from different races, religion and even nationality. We support each other as we know we are all working adults and have limited time to study. We make sure no one is left behind. I remembered last year I have to submit 2 assignments, one is 2 days before Raya and the other one was 4 days after. My classmates sent messages to make sure I am ok, whether I need help. And lend me a hand when I need some support. I do the same for them. I have Jeffrey, Tee, 2 Raj, Puven, Joe, Adzam, Marcus, Kaanthan, Jacky, Rizal, Chow Min, Larry, Victor. Sometimes we have visiting students from other batches or other countries. We also have classes in other campuses, all around the world. In fact some of the boys will be going to Brazil in October for obvious reason *wink wink*. All this individuals, I never see them as their race, they are all people I know and totally can relate to.

So now, when people start to seed hatred on social media, accusing some races are out there to get us the malay, pardon me if I fail to relate. In my whole life journey, I have yet to come across any. Sure, there will be disagreement and misunderstanding but that is not exclusive to one race only. I have my fair share of disagreement with many people from all races. Cause when I argue with them I argue on the topic, on how to make our work better, on process improvement. Not because I am a malay therefore my idea is better than yours. None of them have ever show disrespect about my religion. Some even make sure I have time to pray when we have endless meeting, insist I go home early so that I can cook for my family during Ramadhan or understand I am a mom and will need to be away at times to take care of my kids needs. I have never come across any of this individuals I made friends with penalise me because I am malay or I am muslim. I believe they see me beyond this person wearing tudung. I believe they see me as me.

I get to go to US 2 years ago for work. I was there for nearly a month traveling from one state to another, 9 states in total. In every airport, I am always subject to "random" check, I also had to perform gun shoot residue test in LA airport. There's this one time I was having dinner with a friend when the waitress asked my friend if I can speak English, that was in Chicago. All because I am this lady wearing tudung and traveling alone. The feeling was not pleasant. I hate to be discriminated so I promised myself I will not discriminate. 

Maybe this 37 year old woman, a wife and mother of 3 is just naive. But, this is what I have experience thus far. And based on my own personal experience, none of the people I met judged me based on my race or religion. So, why do I have to do that to others. I have cousins who married chinese spouses. Are you trying to tell me they married bad people. I have close friends who have a chinese mom and a malay dad. Are you implying that they are out against me, a malay woman. Sorry, I just can't relate to all this. 

Sorry for the long winded entry. Perhaps that's just who I am, that's how I was raised. To look beyond race and religion. To accept a person as individual, another Allah's creation just like me. I thank my Nyang, Wan, Atok, Abah and Mummy for raising me this way. It made my life easier and Insyallah I will instill the same value to my kids. That's the least I can do.

Go back to Rasulullah s.a.w. Read his life journey and you can learn a thing or 2 on how noble and respectable he is. How he overcome hate by giving more love and understanding without compromising his belief. How his Iman stayed intact despite the obstacles he went through and how he taught us his umat to do the same. I know we can't replicate what he did 100% but at least please give it a shot. We can't see the future, we don't even know when we die if we call utter the kalimah syahadah. Nothing is certain but we can always spread positivity and show good examples. Insyallah, Allah will continue to protect us.

Some may win the election, some may loose. But from some of the postings I read in social media, I think everyone lost. The prejudice, the racist remarks just break my heart.

I leave you with this thought :

Manusia akan diuji dengan 2 masa ; Masa susah dan Masa senang. Apabila senang, ujiannya lebih hebat, untuk melihat sejauh mana kita tidak lupa pada Allah dan sentiasa bersyukur. 

Signing off,